Female Football February: Coaching pathways for women & girls

To celebrate Female Football February, we will be highlighting stories from our community that showcase the pathways and participation opportunities that exist for women and girls within football.

Today, Beth Milkins speaks about her pathway into coaching and encourages more girls and women to get involved. The Head Coach of Leongatha Knights is one of few women in the state who leads a senior men’s team.

I never set out to coach, it was something that I fell into! Our community club was assembling an Under-16s Girls team at the time and they needed someone to take the step into the role. I had always been passionate about female representation, and it seemed like a perfect fit.

My biggest barrier was self-confidence, but the girls and I learnt together – it was so much fun.

Beth coaching her Under-16s team.

When Football Victoria advertised funding for the first female-only C-License coaching course in the state I knew I had to go for it, I was bitten by the coaching bug and excited to learn more. The C-License opened my eyes to the big and wide world of coaching that existed outside of my little rural league.

At first, I was thoroughly overwhelmed but the course content gave me an excellent grounding in session structure and the pedagogy associated with sport learning. I completed the course while coaching my local Club’s Mixed Under-16s team and from there I made a little locally history by becoming the first female to coach a Senior Men’s team in our league.

I had always fought for gender equality in our sport and through our local league, but I had never championed myself as an individual. Coaching senior men wasn’t even something I had thought of doing before someone planted the idea in my head, but after that I knew it was a challenge that I wanted to take on.

The pandemic hit after being appointed as Head Coach of the Leongatha Knights, so we are currently in the pre-season for what I hope will be my first complete season coaching senior men’s football.

I’m lucky to have such a brilliant team. I don’t believe they see any difference in having a female coach, rather, they see what I have to offer them as players and a team. I am passionate and I work hard for them and I believe they see that and appreciate it. I had 24 players attending my pre-seasoning training this week, which I believe is a club record for us!

I hope to see that financial support and educational opportunities for female coaches continue to arise. If it were not for FV and the support provided, I would not have been able to achieve my C-License Accreditation and my Club, like many others are not in the position to financially support coaches through these types of programs.

I really implore more women to get involved in coaching. It would be incredible to one day have a network of female coaches who regularly get together and support each other. We as an industry need to continue to bring women into the space so that we can continue to break down barriers.

If you're interested in coaching, learn how you can get involved at www.playfootball.com.au

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