In the April edition of Coach the Coach, Football Queensland (FQ) caught up with Slacks Creek FC coach, Ceri Roberts, on her recent C Diploma accreditation and how opportunities like this have helped her develop her coaching methods to prepare for a new era of women’s football.
Having played football for most of her life, Roberts took on the additional role of coach when her daughter started to show interest in the sport; with Slacks Creek FC not having a junior all-girls team for many years, Roberts created the opportunity for her daughter and has coached the team for four years, following them to their current Under 14, Division 3 level.
“I was only playing before, and it was just because I wanted to see the girls have their own team – for them to have a place to come to outside of the pressures of school and friendship groups,” Roberts said.
“While they were young, I knew that my main objective was to teach the girls to love the game and then as we’ve gotten older, that’s when it’s adapted.”
Roberts recently took part in FQ’s female-only C Diploma course and said her main motivation for pursuing this next level of accreditation was to help her bridge the knowledge gaps she had between being a football player, and a football coach.
“I’m a rather chaotic and passionate person so I just wanted guidance in being able to structure and get my coaching vision across in a way that was in alignment with the course; just to have that framework to work against, combining my passion with technical knowledge is what drove me to actually do it,” Roberts said.
“It’s changed a lot in the way I coach, and I can see a big difference in my girls because of it.”
Roberts said the structure that the course provided helped to further link game performance to the training space, giving the attendees skills to become more analytical in identifying what the problem is in the play and how to address it in training.
“You learn that coaching across the lifespan is beneficial, like people who think ‘well I coach seniors so it’s not that beneficial’ or vice versa ‘I only coach juniors’, becoming a better all-round coach is what anyone would admit they got out of that,” Roberts said.
“Football itself needs to be the key at every training session, it’s what brought everyone there, you get the skills to get your vision in there while giving them the most football you can.”
One insight Roberts gave for any coaches considering the C Diploma was to first tap into the resources that are available to them through Football Queensland.
Roberts could not be a bigger supporter for coaches seeking to build their skill base, but suggests to first follow FQ’s coaching pathways, starting with the Community coaching courses such as the MiniRoos or Game Training Certificate, before moving into the Advanced coaching courses.
“It’s good that the expectations of the C Diploma are high because lots of people have an attitude that it’s just something given out – it’s a rewarding experience, but a very challenging one,” Roberts said.
In addition to her coaching and playing duties, Roberts has taken on the responsibility of Women and Girls Ambassador at Slacks Creek FC, a role in which she aims to ensure everybody feels seen and valued.
“It’s about how we set up programs that are going to have longevity and how do we cater to all aspects of the games – to remember that it is about the general betterment of football and not one team against the other is something I’ve tried to get across from the female ambassador perspective,” Roberts said.
FQ has a priority to reach 50/50 gender parity across the game by 2027; as a strong advocate for ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’, Roberts says the more women and girls that are active in every form of football, whether that be coaching, playing, administration, allows for more perspectives to be seen.
“The more women who find the strength to take courses like this, to coach higher level teams, to be involved in the men’s and the women’s game, it then enhances that voice across the game,” Roberts said.
With the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023TM on the horizon, and women’s football in the spotlight more than ever, Roberts is excited about how this visibility will inspire young girls to go anywhere they dream of.
“A career in football was not an option when I was a child, showing these kids that across the world these women have travelled and are supported by their countries to compete to be the best in the world is phenomenal,” Roberts said.
“The World Cup especially on our back door will show girls and women exactly what the older generation were fighting for, and for the younger girls, that they can aspire to be just as great.”