I’m part of the Ontario Soccer Association‘s Female Mentorship Program (FMP) which I was made aware of through a network of women soccer coaches in Toronto. Many of the coaches attending the FMP have a long history of playing and coaching at all levels of soccer (and futsal in some instances). Some of us are aspiring to coach at the competitive level, while some are happy to provide leadership at the recreational level. Regardless, there is a huge need for women coaches in Ontario (and just about everywhere, at every level). It’s not a lie or meant to be taken facetiously when people say that Canadian soccer institutions are an “old boys club”.
For decades there have been fantastic women coaching soccer, and often these women are invisible or overlooked by the Clubs or institutions they practice in. The systemic barriers (sexism, poverty, racism, homophobia, and so on) that women face in sports is daunting. Some men face these hurdles too…but it’s hard to ignore the significant impact gender has on who is considered “qualified” and a “leader” in sports.
Those who are keen would be familiar with high-profile soccer coaches such as Silvia Neid, Pia Sundhage, Hope Powell, Carolina Morace, Helena Costa, Nelfi Ibáñez Guerra, and Jill Ellis, who are few and far between in the international landscape of professional soccer coaches.
This systemic imbalance needs to be rectified and there are local programs that are trying to do just that, which my post on Thursday, May 22 will focus on. In the meantime, check out the coaches listed above and consider getting involved either with the Ontario Soccer Association or Toronto Soccer Association.