by Jennifer Pfeiffer
I am not the trainer. I am not the coaches’ wife. I am not a parent of the players. I am not the manager. I am not _______. . . it could go on. It was a whole season.
I am the coach. And yes, I enjoy the look on your face when you have realized I am coaching the men.
I did not become a coach to be the only female in the group or to break any ceilings. I coached because the team was in my town and I was qualified to be on staff. I wanted to be on staff with the men. I knew I could help the team. I knew I could train the goalkeepers and prepare them for the level of play expected in the NPSL.
So what is it really like being the only female coach? I had to chase around to find a bathroom, get one unlocked, or use the one under the fan side. Do you know how many locker rooms have both teams in the same area for changing? Only a couple of times the team forgot I was still waiting outside.
By the end of the season, I was the only coach at some of the games. And yes, we won. There was pressure to win as a female coach. No one wants to lose but I wanted to win so I could see that look again on your face.
It’s acceptable for men to coach female teams but when is it going to be acceptable for a female to coach mens teams? I am qualified.
By Jené Baclawski
Prior to the roster announcement on October 6th, current USWNT Head Coach Jill Ellis hinted that there would be some big changes to the team’s roster for a pair of October friendlies against Switzerland. When the list was announced, fans of the team realized that Ellis definitely wasn’t kidding around. To see the full list visit: http://www.ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/latest-roster#tab-1
Since these two matches do not have any bearing on World Cup Qualifications for 2019 this is the time in the training cycle to experiment with players and see if (and where) any new personnel may contribute to team. For the games on October 19th in Sandy, Utah and October 23rd in Minneapolis her staff is bringing in eleven uncapped players which includes eight from the National Women’s Soccer League and three current collegiate players. “Right now we are in a phase where we want to expand the number of players... that means several of our more experienced players won’t be in camp while we get to evaluate some different personnel,” said Ellis. “In order to see if these players can contribute, we need to get them into a national team training environment and in games.”
After reviewing Ellis’ revitalized roster, here are a few of the players I am excited about seeing play on Wednesday night as well as a few notable exceptions I’ll miss from the list.
Ready to make an impact:
A few players I’ll miss watching
While most female coaches have personal experience as players, when they make that transition to coach, these same women are often thrown into situations or even conflicts with clubs, players, colleagues and parents they may not be fully equipped to handle. Although the player-turned-coach thinks she has seen and heard it all, nothing can prepare her for first-hand experience.
As we know, today coaching is a male-dominated profession. Many women simply do not receive the guidance they need to develop their craft, especially when they first begin. After months and years of frustration, most women coaches find a different career path. As a result, retention suffers. This is what we do NOT want to happen. We believe that if these coaches are not supported appropriately, then we will continue to lose quality coaches from the professional pipeline at alarming rates. Also, many players, boys and girls, will miss out on the opportunity to have amazing role models who are passionate about their sport and profession.
We are ready to rumble!
In a few short months, we have collaborated, organized, brainstormed, and formed this amazing Coalition to help women grow as coaches and administrators in the world of youth sports. The energy broadcast this group and grow its members is limitless.
Come join the fun! We are just as excited as you to grow the number of women in youth sports and strengthen the capabilities of the ones who are already there.