Football Queensland (FQ) will host Australia’s first ever female-only FFA/AFC B Licence course next year, kicking off in January 2021 at Meakin Park.
Facilitated by FQ’s Lead Club Development Ambassador (Coaching) Davide Bertamini, Westfield Matildas Assistant Coach Mel Andreatta and recently announced Football Federation Australia (FFA) Women’s Technical Advisor and Junior Matildas Head Coach Rae Dower, the course will run across 11 days in January and April.
“Football Queensland is absolutely committed to the women’s game which is why we will deliver the first ever female-only FFA/AFC B Licence course here at Meakin Park, a significant step for the women’s game, especially as we look ahead to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup,” FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci said.
“We know that women and girls are the future of our game, and Football Queensland is committed to developing pathways and opportunities for women and girls to get involved in football in any capacity, including as players, coaches and referees.”
“As outlined in our Strategic Plan, Football Queensland is committed to increasing the number of coaches in our game through greater support, development and recognition,” FQ President Ben Richardson said.
“The upcoming female-only B Licence course at Meakin Park is a great example of this as we find new ways to provide high quality participation opportunities for women and girls in Queensland.”
Dower, who is also a Coach Mentor for FQ’s QAS program, said previous feedback from female coaches had indicated an appetite for female-only courses, with some coaches stating they were not as comfortable in a setting where they may often be the only female participant, or finding themselves unable to progress on the Advanced Coaching pathway due to other barriers.
This led to collaboration between FFA and FQ to facilitate the first ever female-only B Licence course.
“I think it’s always nice to be the first. For Football Queensland, it’s nice to be able to say that they led this initiative, looking at the big picture and an alternate way to boost the number of female coaches which is linked to our Strategic Plan,” Dower said.
“It’s also linked to Principle X of the FFA’s XI Principles by embracing opportunities to increase the number of female coaches and to grow the overall talent pool. The investment and development of the women’s game is not just about players, but building capacity in coaches, referees, medical staff and decision-makers too.
“To champion this initiative and to be the first is a proud pioneering moment for the evolution of the women’s game here in Queensland. Special thanks to Gabor, Davide, Rob and Ben for supporting the concept and to Sean Douglas for providing us with flexibility in our delivery.
“The female-only B Licence course provides an opportunity for a cohort of coaches to experience something different and to help them gain further qualifications and enhance their professional development. We don’t know what the specific feedback will be for this course because we’ve never done it before, but the opportunity needs to be provided before people can say whether they like the experience or not.”
With sessions scheduled across the Christmas and Easter holiday periods, the timing of the course has been planned specifically to maximise opportunities for participation of female coaches, many of whom are school teachers and have been unable to attend a B Licence previously.
A number of session times scheduled to run into the evening will also ensure on-field sessions can be completed in cooler parts of the day utilising QAS players.
“We already know within our own program here at the QAS that a number of our female coaches are teachers, and they’re finding it difficult to be able to get onto a B Licence. Traditionally those courses are held during business hours during the week and they can’t take time out of school to attend. So, we thought now is as good a time as any due to the lack of people travelling and we decided to drive this initiative,” Dower said.
“FFA have given us a lot of autonomy around how we pilot this course, so we’ve been really flexible and tried to counter as many barriers previously identified through surveys and past feedback as we could.”
Dower said this flexible approach is key to ensuring female coaches are provided the opportunity to progress along the coaching pathway.
“We need to create as many opportunities as possible for women to go on the Advanced Coaching pathway. Providing the opportunity and a supportive environment is the first part, then it’s over to them to show their potential. For our teachers, they’re coaching and teaching every day of their working lives, so it comes naturally to them.
“The next step is to support them, to guide and mentor them and instil confidence in them. As the game and in particular the women’s game continues to professionalise, there will be a larger pool of female coaches who have the qualifications and experience required and can then be afforded the same opportunity as their male counterparts to be recruited into more coaching roles.
“It would be great to get a full course and provide a really positive experience for a historic group of female coaches.”