Highlights from the 2023 Grassroots Female Coaching Conference
More than 200 coaches gathered at St. George’s Park to celebrate the female role models who are driving participation in the grassroots game.
Last month, more than 200 coaches gathered at St. George’s Park, the home of English football, to connect, learn and celebrate the female role models who are driving participation in the grassroots game.
The inaugural Grassroots Female Coaching Conference, which took place on 17th August, consisted of practical sessions, networking events, guest speaker appearances and Q&As, and there was also an opportunity to take a photograph with the Women’s Euro 2022 trophy, which was won in spectacular fashion by Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses last year.
Hosted by the England Football Learning Women & Girls Coach Development Team, the event served as an opportunity to reflect on so many amazing journeys of female coaches, learn from one another and engage in practical sessions.
The day kicked off with a warm welcome from the team, followed by presentations delivered by Sally Needham (Academy Human Development and Performance Culture, Sheffield United) and Frances Hunter (Head of Fitness and Performance, Middlesbrough & Wales Senior Women’s).
After lunch, the coaches headed out onto the pitch for practical sessions delivered by Sally and Frances, as well as Hannah Dingley (Academy Manager, Forest Green Rovers) and Amanda Goodwin (England WU16’s Assistant Coach).
Following a break to take some photos with the Women’s Euro 2022 trophy, the day was rounded off with a Q&A with Jane Purdon (CEO, Women in Football), who shared insight, expertise and stories from her experiences in football, as well as discussing her book Homecoming.
Speaking on the success of the event, Suey Smith, Coach Development Officer (W&G) for the North East said: "The conference has been an empowering moment for all. It was such a team effort within the Women & Grassroots CDO department. Connecting female coaches with one another across all County FAs and hearing them share their journeys and experience was extremely valuable. Our inspirational guest speakers throughout the day also showcased their own journeys to date and gave an insight into the work they currently do, reminding all the attendees anything is possible and if you can see it you can be it.
"On a personal level, hosting this event and standing in front of over 200 female coaches, all sharing their stories at the home of football is one of the things I am most proud of in my 15 years The FA.”
Bex Garlick, National Coach Development Lead (W&G) added: “The conference was one of the proudest moments of my 13 years at The Football Association. 3 years ago, the team were tasked with providing targeted support for female coaches across grassroots football and recruiting new ones to step over the sidelines, into coaching. Seeing over 200 female coaches in attendance today epitomises the work that goes on at a local level in collaboration with the County FA network, highlighting the impact we are having on ensuring females know they have a crucial part to play in our game, and that they are supported in doing so.”
"As we aim to give women and girls equal access to the game, there has never been a more important time for females to step over the sidelines and take advantage of their transferable skills to help inspire the next generation, regardless of knowledge or footballing experience. "
Whether it’s attending a workshop, getting in touch with a local club or Wildcats centre, or even finding out more about Coach Development Groups delivered by County FAs, there is a range of support available for female coaches.
Events like the Grassroots Female Coaching Conference, play a vital role in providing spaces for female coaches to learn, develop and speak to other like-minded individuals who are achieving amazing things and leading the way.
Watch the full highlights as well as a selection of the best photos from the day below: