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Saskia Barnett delivering a coaching session

Playing football has always come naturally to Saskia Barnett, from youth level to developing as a senior player. Now, after completing EE Playmaker by England Football, she’s using her skills to coach and inspire other players.

Saskia played for a number of clubs growing up, and even helped to lay the foundations for Cheltenham Town Ladies. Due to the impact of the pandemic, however, her playing career was forced to a halt.

Keen to continue playing an active role in the game, Saskia began helping out and coaching youth teams before starting a Sports & Exercise degree at Hartpury University. This also gave her the opportunity to play for the Senior Women’s football team and start building her confidence in coaching.

It was FA Regional Coach Development Officer Stacey Miles who first introduced Saskia to EE Playmaker by England Football.

“The (EE) Playmaker course is such a great introduction for coaches, in particular females who may be a little nervous. It gives you that online, virtual opportunity and it’s easily accessible.”

“It’s great for me to come back here and see that she’s playing and one of the coaches. It’s fantastic as it’s given her an opportunity to grow, develop confidence. It’s also great to see for the young players to see that you can become a coach.”

Since completing the course, Saskia is coaching at Hartpury University with confidence, building her relationships with players and developing her skills every day.

Toni Butcher, Women’s Football Head Coach at Hartpury University believes that Saskia has an incredibly bright future ahead as a coach and mentor.

“She was very quiet when she came to me, and lacked confidence. Now, she’s leading from the front, and she’s a brilliant role model. In this environment at Hartpury, we are striving to be the best, and she lives and breathes these values in her coaching.”

So, what does the future hold for Saskia? While she continues to enjoy life as a player, she is hoping to use the foundations from the EE Playmaker course to undertake further learning and develop her career in coaching.

Speaking on anyone who may be thinking of taking that step over the sidelines, she said: “Take up the EE Playmaker course. It gives you confidence, communication skills, organisation, and time management. It set me on the road to what I want to do in life.”

EE Playmaker by England Football is a free, online course designed to help volunteers and aspiring coaches like Saskia learn more about the basics of football, develop confidence and step over the sidelines and into the game. To get started, you just need a laptop, mobile or tablet – and the enthusiasm to get stuck in.

Find out more about EE Playmaker by England Football and discover where it can take you today.

Watch Saskia’s story in full: