Coaching has given me months of headaches – but also lots of joy

Coaching was no stranger to me. My first experience was in the United States, when I worked at several summer camps associated with Sky Blue FC (now NJ/NY Gotham FC), the club I was playing for at the time. I was able to travel to different parts of New Jersey, meet local football clubs and work with youth players of all ages. Sometimes with really young children, from the age of six to 14 and 15.

I didn’t think I wanted to coach after I retired – I was pretty sure I’d be a frustrated coach – but I also didn’t want to make decisions based on my perception of what it entailed without trying. .

Everyone I spoke to, whether they were coaches or former pros from all over the men’s and women’s world, said the same thing: you have to get out on the grass; if you’re going to do it, you have to live it.

I didn’t survive it, so how could I turn my nose up?

I joined the Women’s Uefa B Welsh Football Association course held in Newport and was completely absorbed. I was taught in detail about all the things that are taken for granted as a player – planning, all the things you need to think about in relation to players and their preparation, technical, tactical and psychological details, the smallest details – it was open to me. As a player you don’t think so broadly, you don’t think about how pitch size affects intensity, player loading and the limits they put on their playing time.

One of my mentors on this course was Bristol City head coach Lauren Smith. After playing, I wasn’t sure what to do. I did a little bit of everything – I still do. I enjoyed going with the flow and not having the structured routine I lived as a player for what felt like forever. The unknown was and is exciting. But Lauren approached me because they had a budget for a third assistant, and I practically made it.

The best way to describe the first few weeks and even the first few months in this role is to say that I came home every day with a constant headache. My head was in full swing as I was constantly thinking about how to meet the expectations of my boss, staff and players, but also planning sessions and making sure I got the best out of them together.

At the end of each day, I was thinking and analyzing too much: was it a success? Was it a failure? How would I change it? did it work? Didn’t it work? And then you watch so many movies and so many games with us and the opponent. It requires a lot of mental strength because you are constantly critically analyzing moments, motives, individuals, really many things that mentally drain you. But they have broadened my point of view on football, broadened what I like about it and what kind of football I like to watch or play.

We are all involved in session planning and decision making which means every day I am learning on the job who I am as a coach, what my identity is, what my core values ​​are and then I get to explore ways to align this with the staff and players.

I’m glad of it. I really enjoy working with players who are motivated, committed and ambitious. For me personally, after a career I’ve enjoyed, I enjoy helping players get where they want to go.

Do I want to be the head coach? I can’t honestly give you a specific answer to this question. As a player, I’ve spent a lot of time away from friends, family and the events of life, and if anything, it takes more time to train – I understand why there are so few female coaches in football. I’m still on this journey to get a feel for it, and what my heart pulls for the strongest will prevail in the end, but so far I’m enjoying it and enjoying where the game is going.

Topics of discussion

Barça ejected: Barcelona were banned from the Copa de la Reina after fielding an ineligible player in a 9-0 win over Osasuna in the last 16 matches. Geyse Ferreira started the match and scored the fourth goal, but should not have been included after being sent off against Madrid CFF last year. The Spanish football federation imposed a fine of 1,001 euros in addition to eliminating the holders. The club has 10 days to appeal. Sevilla were sent off for a similar offence, and Nagore Calderón came on in a 1-0 win over Villarreal despite being sent off in last year’s quarter-finals.

Barcelona's Geyse Ferreira has a chance to face Real Madrid this month

Barcelona’s Geyse Ferreira has a chance to face Real Madrid this month. Photo: Oscar J Barroso/Shutterstock

Phillips leaves London City: The London City Lioness Championship leaders have announced that Head Coach Melissa Phillips has left to become the first assistant coach at Angel City in the NWSL. Phillips joined London City the day before the first Covid-19 lockdown and became head coach in October 2020. The club’s clash at the top of the table with second-placed Bristol City has been postponed over the weekend. They are separated by a point and London City have played more. Phillips joins Angel City in preparation for the season.

Quote of the week

“To everyone at the New Moon pub in Crawley… @ArsenalWomenSC I put some money behind the bar for you all. Pass me the cranberry juice and chips. Enjoy the man game. We apologize for the postponed match. Changes must be made. They will be done. In the meantime, stay hydrated,” Arsenal defender Lotte Wubben-Moy offered fans who traveled to Crawley for the WSL match against Brighton a drink after the pitch was postponed due to the frozen pitch.

Recommended viewing

Chelsea and Liverpool players slide on the frozen Kingsmeadow pitch before the match is called off after six minutes.

Still want more?

The Portland Thorns have fired their sports coach Pierre Soubrier after it was discovered that he was administering a controlled substance to the players.

Listen to the Women’s Football Weekly podcast featuring Faye Carruthers, Suzanne Wrack, Sophie Downey and James Lewis.

The resignation of Chelsea and the impressive form of Mary Earps were among the main topics of last weekend’s WSL match.

And keep track of all the latest moves with the women’s interactive transfer window.

Have a question for our authors – or want to suggest a topic to discuss? Please contact us by sending an email to [email protected]

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