• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Why women footballers don’t coach women’s football

ByMarni Dagtoglou

Feb 17, 2024

Within the world of football, some of the most prominent names on the sidelines are those of women, with Emma Hayes and Sarina Wiegman both being contenders for the best coach in the women’s game. However, across the whole field, men still largely dominate this role. Indeed, The New European reported during the Women’s World Cup 2023 that “any young woman considering a career in coaching might be put off by the dominance of male coaches in top roles in the women’s game.” This is also made worse by the fact that very few women have managed male teams, with Hannah Dingley making history as the first woman appointed as a caretaker manager of a men’s side in England.

Coaches in women’s football are the current hot topic, particularly after changes within the January transfer window that saw Brighton head coach Melissa Philips get the sack, meaning only four women manage in the English top flight. Current Chelsea manager Hayes spoke to BBC Sport about the lack of women managers within the Women’s Super League (WSL), arguing that it was a “massive issue” that required “creative ways” to support potential future female managers. 

This would mainly include creating new opportunities for former players to attain their UEFA coaching licence, as this is not only necessary for coaches in UEFA-affiliated leagues but also teaches crucial skills for modern-day managers. Including tactics, injuries, managing personalities, and the increasing importance of mental health. 

In an interview with The Ringer, Mark Parsons, the former coach of the Washington Spirit and the Netherlands women’s team, said that the decision over coaches for the women’s game should come down to personality rather than gender. However, the issue is that, due to the high cost associated with acquiring a UEFA coaching licence and the huge disparity between men and women’s football, it is often not possible for female players to transition into coaching. Current Chelsea coach Hayes said that “we have to think about educating players much earlier on in their careers… and most importantly, support so that they can go through the coach education”. Arguing that they need “to commit more money to coaches, not just in the women’s game, but women coaches in general.”

Although there has been progress through campaigns such as the Football Association’s (FA) ‘Inspiring Positive Change’ pledge, which has seen massive growth in participation and prominent female managers such as Hayes and the Lionesses’ Wiegman, more can and needs to be done.

England Women’s Vs USA” by joshjdss is licensed under CC BY 2.0.