5 Ways to Get More Female Coaches Involved in Soccer
Where are all the women? This question pervades the football coaching world.
Many reasons have been given. There are many myths floating around as to why there are not more women in the game. Reasons that often come up are that women have family commitments, they don’t want to invest in the time commitment, or they can’t hack the demands.
As a 28 year veteran coach who has coached numerous levels, I rarely see an opposing coach who looks like me, a female. Sadly, many of the female coaches I know across the country feel like lone wolves, floating about as the token female.
In Cal South, 82% of the coaches who are licensed from levels F to A are male, yet the percentage of players by gender is about 50/50%. Further breaking down the statistics, in Cal South there are 10,808 females with coaching licenses. (Stats are from 2009 to present). But, we don’t necessarily see them on the field. Further dissecting the above numbers; at the higher levels of licensing of that 10,808 in Cal South only 4 women have their USSF A licenses, 40 have their B and 54 their C, the remaining have their D, E, F.
Considering, I am one of the above mentioned 4 women with an A, I find those statistics very troubling. But rather than continuing to ask, “Where are the women?” and lament the numbers, or waste energy dissecting the reasons why. I would rather consider this, “What can women and men in the game do to inspire females get more involved at any level of football?”
Here are 5 ways to get and keep more women involved:
1. Women in the game must grab younger females and pull them along with them
Often women compete with one another due to a lack of opportunities. Those women that have “made it” need to consciously seek out opportunities to help those that are coming behind them. Identify young females who have tremendous leadership qualities and put them into situations where they can coach, or ref.
Throw them into learning situations and watch them thrive. Then guide them as they find their passion.
2. Find a “tribe” or network of women that you can connect with on a regular basis
The power of collaboration can keep you driving forward when you are feeling alone or unmotivated or burnt-out.
3. Directors and or boards must actively seek to interview a broad range of candidates instead of shopping in one aisle
Those in positions of power can increase their profitability and performance of their organization by being more inclusive with their diversity within the organization.
It might take time, but the payoff is worth it.
4. Women must not be afraid to speak up and get outside their comfort zones
No one is going to do it for you ladies! If you want something to change or more responsibility for yourself put your hand up and volunteer. Women have a tendency to feel that if they do not tick all the boxes on experience then they are not ready for a new job or challenge.
The only way to be ready is to gain on the job experience.
5. Use social media to network
LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are great tools to expand your opportunities and get connected to a larger audience. You never know who you might meet or what opportunity may come your way.
Overall, women have the power to increase their numbers, we just have to commit to do it one new coach, ref or leader at a time.