A new scholarship programme that assists B-licensed female coaches to gain access to higher coaching education is now underway, with the first group of coaches already starting to benefit.
The FIFA Scholarship for B-Licensed Female Coaches is one of nine FIFA women’s football development programmes on offer for 2015-2018 and is being run in cooperation with a number of member associations through their coach education programmes. It is in line with the ten key development principles for women’s football that were approved by the FIFA Congress in 2014.
“We recognise the challenges that many countries face in trying to increase the number of highly qualified female coaches at the elite level,” said Mayi Cruz Blanco, FIFA Senior Women’s Football Development Manager. “FIFA has launched this programme with that in mind, and we are sure it will have a positive impact with a view to enabling female coaches to lead teams at the highest level.”
The FIFA Women’s Football Survey 2014 confirmed that the number of female coaches in football is low, with only 7 per cent of registered coaches from the 177 member associations that participated in the survey being female. Also according to the results, associations that have enjoyed success in women’s football have a higher level of participation of women at different coaching levels.
The role of member associations is crucial to ensure that the number of highly qualified female coaches increases and to give them opportunities to coach. They now have the possibility to put forward candidates for FIFA’s scholarship programme, in accordance with the FIFA Women’s Football Development Programmes and Guidelines 2015-2018.
The candidates need to comply with a number of criteria such as: holding a B licence; previously attending a minimum of 200 hours in football coaching training; and having at least four years of practical coaching experience (ideally at national and international level).
FIFA provides funding support to the successful candidates to enrol in an A licence coaching programme of a member association. This support may include course fees, accommodation and/or travel. Benefiting member associations must commit to supporting the candidate after she has finished the programme.
A total of ten coaches will benefit as part of the 2015/16 edition. The countries represented among the successful candidates include Australia, British Virgin Islands, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland and South Africa.
“The opportunity to complete the A licence is brilliant,” said Katie Rowson, Technical Director of the British Virgin Islands Football Association and a FIFA Scholarship Holder for 2015. “In the future, I look forward to progressing towards a full-time head coach position at a college, professional club or national team.”
Rowson is one of only a few female technical directors working at member association level. Also included in the 2015/16 intake is Amelia Valverde, head coach of the Costa Rican national team that competed in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™.