The photo above was taken by Howard C. Smith at isiphotos.net.
Let’s Identify Ways to Support Women in Coaching
The lacking presence of female coaches at the highest levels of sport is a challenge that the American soccer coaching community is actively looking to improve. With that in mind, the following excerpt is copied directly from a Women’s Professional Soccer article (that I just posted to the WPS website): http://www.womensprosoccer.com/Home/news/columnist/090721-lauletta-wps-weekly-17.aspx Check it out, the rest of the article is very insightful, but I felt this passage was in particular needed more attention.
Battle of Female Coaches was a Rarity
If you line up the seven original WPS coaches in the order they were hired, Emma Hayes falls right in the middle. When she was hired by the Red Stars on May 5, 2008, Hayes was the fourth coach in WPS-and the first woman.
“I think women should coach women,” she said on a conference call the day she was introduced to the media.
More than a year later, Hayes’s only opportunity to coach against another woman has come against Kelly Lindsey of Sky Blue FC. And Lindsey became a head coach only after taking over for Ian Sawyers, who was terminated less than two months into the season.
“I think it’s great,” Hayes said after the second of her two matches opposite Lindsey. “I think it’s great for the league that females are coaching in the league whether they are head coaching or assistants.”
The two Emma Hayes-Kelly Lindsey coaching matchups were the first ever in women’s professional soccer in the United States (Lindsey prevailed both times). In three seasons, the WUSA employed two female head coaches. One was Marcia McDermott, who led the Carolina Courage to the 2002 championship and now as general manager of the Red Stars, hired Emma Hayes. But McDermott resigned her post with the Courage after 2002 and did not coach against Pia Sundhage, who led the Boston Breakers in 2003.
“It’s something I would like to see expansion teams do more of,” Hayes said. “I would like to see that moving forward.”
Unfortunately for Hayes’s cause, both 2010 expansion sides have hired head coaches, and both are men. And among the league’s 20 assistant coaches, expansion teams included, 13 are men including Hayes’s goalkeeper coach Nathan Kipp.
In the WNBA, the only other major team professional sport in the United States, the league launched in 1997 with seven female coaches among eight teams. Today there are four female coaches for 13 positions.
“Each team has their guidelines and expectations for what they’re looking for,” Hayes said. “I think giving women an opportunity at this level is something we’re not doing enough of yet. I think they’re out there, they just have to search.”
Despite the rarity of her standing, Hayes said the only pressure she feels is what every coach feels.
“I’m a coach that wants to win,” she said. “I just feel pressure as a coach not as a woman.”
As the Chair of the NSCAA women’s committee, I thought it would be nice to share a couple things that the National Soccer Coaches Association of America is currently working on to improve the situation at hand:
WPS Courses – The Chicago Red Stars and the Boston Breakers each hosted an NSCAA Coaching Course this summer called, “Reading the Game,” where participants got to hear from Red Stars Head Coach Emma Hayes and Breakers Head Coach Tony DiCicco before and after the match. They also had cameo visits from U.S. Women’s National Team Coach Pia Sundhage, England Women’s National Team Coach Hope Powell, Red Stars General Manager Marcia McDermott, and Breakers General Manager Joe Cummings. We’re currently looking to expand into more markets for 2010 – the Freedom and the Beat are already on board.
Algarve Cup Trip – In March, former USWNT Head Coach April Heinrichs and renowned sports psychologist Dr. Colleen Hacker took 22 coaches behind-the-scenes at one of the world’s most distinguished sporting events in the world. This was the third trip the Women’s Committee has organized, and it’s been a tremendous success. In addition, participants can earn 4 CEUs for this course to help maintain their USSF “A” License. Learn more here: http://nscaa.com/subpages/20090317111653886.php
NSCAA Annual Convention– When it comes to soccer events in the United States, few can parallel the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s Convention. No other event matches the fun, excitement and learning opportunities this annual gathering offers to soccer coaches at all levels of the game. Learn more here – http://www.nscaa.com/annual.php, and find out more about Women’s Committee programming here: http://nscaa.com/wc.php
Women’s Coaching Regional Symposium – Building off the back of the NSCAA National Convention in Philadelphia next year, we’re working to identify a location now and get to work on this tremendous initiative. We feel that this will be a great way for us to reach the youth, club, high school coaches that make up such a huge percentage of the NSCAA. Interested in helping, presenting, organizing or attending? Send me an email!
NCAA Final 4 Event – The NSCAA always does a great job of reaching out to coaches who attend the NCAA Final Four.
NSCAA Coaching Course for WPS players – Our players all exit the ranks of WPS at one point or another, so the more Coaching Education we can provide for them NOW, the more likely it is that we’ll be able to keep them actively involved in the game THEN. I personally believe this is one of the most influential initiatives on the list in terms of helping to develop and support female coaches.
2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany – Interested in attending? We’d like to facilitate a group of coaches to attend this event, and you can bet we’ll get some serious inside access!!! I’ve started collecting a list of people, let me know if you’re interested. While there’s no official program yet, I do anticipate that anybody who comes to Germany with the NSCAA Women’s Committee will return to the states and share what they learned through video, presentations, Soccer Journal articles, in-depth analysis, etc.
Have more ideas? Want to get involved? Join the NSCAA!