Football Queensland’s new Women’s & Inclusive Football Development Officer Sarah Willington is relishing the challenges of helping the sport grow in the Sunshine State.
Originally from Wales, Willington joins FQ from a successful spell in a similar role at Football Federation Northern Territory.
The qualified coach and referee had a promising playing career cut short by a knee injury in her early 20s but has remained in football by developing a wide variety of skills.
She is registered to referee this season, has coached within Football NT’s National Training Centre program and is dedicated to helping others participate.
“It’s everyone,” Willington said of her new role’s focus on growing opportunities in female and inclusive football.
“Administrators, volunteers, referees, coaches and just people that love the game.
“Especially the little ones. Get them involved, let them understand what it’s like to play football and how much fun it can be.”
Willington’s responsibilities at Football NT included supporting players, coaches and referees alike.
She says the chance to apply those skills to a broader base – including an understanding of the complexities of football in rural areas – is exciting rather than daunting.
“I had a big influence on what I did (in the Northern Territory) but I wanted to test that on a bigger scale and actually have more challenges,” she said.
“I see the variances of clubs and travelling distances has a huge impact on the sport here.
“I think Queensland has a little bit more of a hold on its regional areas, I think you can travel a little bit easier to your remote areas compared to the Northern Territory.
“But there is certainly a lot of distance to cover in trying to connect your community, which is always one of the challenges in football.”