Sunday 09 July 2023, 22:00

Career advancement through the FIFA Coach Education Scholarship programme

  • 41 female coaches are currently benefiting from the FIFA Coach Education Scholarship programme

  • The programme enables higher levels of training for coaches and is designed to increase the number of qualified female coaches

  • Online mentoring and coaching apprenticeships especially for women are part of the programme

The FIFA Coach Education Scholarship (CES) programme is one of eight FIFA programmes for the development of women’s football available to all 211 of FIFA’s global member associations.

Forty-one participants from around the world are currently benefiting from the programme, the main aim of which is to provide access to a higher level of training and increase the number of qualified female coaches.

One of the participants is Junpen Seesruam, who was part of Thailand’s team at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ and who is now an assistant coach of her country.

"I’m glad to have the opportunity to take part in the Asian Football Confederation A Diploma course sponsored by FIFA,” said Seesraum. “I’ll use both the theoretical and practical knowledge and skills I have gained from this course to help Thailand’s national team to enhance their performance in the future. I’d like to thank FIFA for their support and the course educators for their advice."

The CES sees FIFA provide talented female coaches and players who are looking to take the next step in their footballing careers with a scholarship for coach education at a location of their choice, with all FIFA member associations able to apply.

"On behalf of the Women’s Department at the Football Association of Thailand, I would like to thank FIFA for their continuous support and the opportunity to become part of the FIFA Women’s Development Programme, which includes initiatives such as the Coach Education Scholarship,” said Rumpha Varaveerakul, Director of Women's Football at the Thailand FA.

“Thank you for providing our female coaches with the opportunity to advance their careers. I believe that having knowledgeable coach educators who have undergone the necessary training will benefit our players. This will be a key factor in continuously developing our national teams and leagues."

The governing body of world football provides financial support to the successful applicants to cover the costs of their coach education. They also get access to online mentoring and other resources, including coaching apprenticeships especially for women to help further promote their development. On the pathway to achieving higher levels of qualification, the candidates are supported by experienced female coaches who accompany them as mentors.

April Heinrichs of USA

“The FIFA Coach Education Scholarship program offers top-level mentoring to the next generation of female coaches. Each candidate is paired with a world-class mentor working together for a year on topics across the game. The FIFA women’s football department upskills the mentors on modern methods of mentoring, while the mentees are upskilled on ‘how to squeeze your mentor’ for the best and most applicable advice/guidance. The mentee is in the driver’s seat of her own mentorship, while the mentor sits alongside asking questions, offering insights,” said April Heinrichs, the playmaker who helped steer USA to victory in the first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991 in China PR, before taking over as head coach in 2000 and leading the team to the Olympic final that year and then to the gold medal in 2004.

“The ultimate mentor/mentee relationship is when the mentee feels she has an ally on her team. I have worked as a mentor across many organizations for many years now and I believe the guidance provided by FIFA to both the mentor and mentee is top-shelf. I should also add that I remain in contact with my mentees over the years.”

To apply for a FIFA scholarship for coach education, candidates must already have their C coaching licence and be in charge of a team currently entered in a competition. The aims of the programme are as follows:

  • Training and inspiring female players and coaches to help ensure long careers

  • Facilitating the qualification of female players and improving their chances of moving into the coaching sector

  • Increasing the number of highly-qualified female coaches in football

List of the participants and mentors

Tanya Oxtoby, Amy Merricks (England); Aitbaeva Aichurok, Diana Evgenievna Cherepanova, Kunduz Taalabek Kvzv, Umut Liazova (Kyrgyz Republic); Chownee Planlert, Junpen Seesruam (Thailand); Amy Armistead, Catherine Cannuli, Faye Chambers, Liz Doherty, Tiarn Powell, Kelly Stirton, Mara Watts, Nicola Williams (Australia); Teea Oja, Mari Savolainen (Finland); Kristine Pedersen, Vinnie Baun (Denmark); Amrutha Aravind Valliyath (India); Aminath Siyana, Mariyam Mirfath (Maldives); Michal Ravitz Lurie, Dovrat Van Ouwerkerk, Dana Kerem (Israel); Minyoung Lee, Youngjeong Park (Korea Republic); Laura Heffernan, Irene Hehir (Republic of Ireland); Anna Szymanska (Poland); Victoria Boardman, Freya Coombe, Sarah Lowdon (USA); Shannon Celeste Ausma, Kim de Bruin, Lisa Guijt, Bianca Verrijp (The Netherlands); Nare Beybutyan, Anna Aleksanyan (Armenia); Kristin Thompson (Guam)Simon Toselli (France); Heather Dyche (USA); Marieanne Spacey-Cale (England); Sue Ronan (Republic of Ireland); Jayne Ludlow (Wales); Stéphanie Spielmann (France); Andrea Rodebaugh (Mexico); Anouschka Bernhard (Germany); Marta Tejedor (Spain); Shelley Kerr (Scotland); Rae Dower (Australia); Nina Patalon (Poland); Anne Noé (Belgium); Anja Zivkovic (Germany); April Heinrichs (USA); Jonas Urias (Brazil); Jessie Fan (China PR)