I was invited to the Home of FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland, for the Women’s Football Instructors Seminar, from March 20-23, 2012. My work with FIFA is generally focused on Marketing and Communications for Com-Unity Seminars, so I’m not really sure how to express my gratitude for this incredible opportunity to come be a part of what I’d call, “coaches week,” in Zurich.
During this time, a small group of us worked on the structure and organization of the Com-Unity Seminars, while the larger group of participants discussed curriculum and tactics for FIFA’s coaching courses. The cross-over between programs was crucial, as I collected a ton of feedback from instructors on the successes and challenges regarding seminars/courses they’ve been a part of. I learned about ways I can better support coaches who work Com-Unity Seminars with me. And importantly, we were all able to meet face-to-face.
I believe we counted that 19 of the seminar participants are, or had previously been, head coaches at National Teams. We’re talking April Heinrichs (USA), Hope Powell (ENG), Tina Theune (GER), Carolina Morace (ITA), Vera Pauw (NED), Leonardo Cuellar (MEX), and more. Simply awesome.
The Home of FIFA.
A moment that struck me personally was when Jacquie Shipanga, the Head Coach of the Namibian Women’s National Team, spoke to the group about her challenges as a coach in Africa. Jacquie and I presented a Com-Unity Seminar together in Tanzania back in the fall, and she’s one of the bravest, strongest, most caring souls I’ve ever met. Her insights were incredibly powerful.
In an interview with FIFA.com during the course, Jacquie said:
The challenges we have to face in our country are so overwhelming sometimes that there’s no way of tackling them. You end up asking yourself who is responsible for the coaches and instructors. That’s why this seminar is so valuable.
We’re getting the opportunity here to work with role models who have an in-depth understanding of the women’s game. It’s really motivating for us to see leading coaches like Tina and April. They’re very warm people and they’re offering their help to us. I really feel everyone’s looking after me. It’s fantastic.
Here are just a couple of the photos I snapped during the week:
Left: My place setting. Right: President Blatter giving his opening speech.
Left: A panel discussion with National Team coaches. Right: On the pitch just outside FIFA’s main building.
A sincere thanks to FIFA and all those who made this week possible, especially Mayi Turner-Kerr (Cruz Blanco), who literally works day in and day out for the development of women’s football around the world. Though she’s often behind the scenes organizing seminars and developing programs, she’s truly a rockstar who lives on the front lines.