Football is changing. The women’s game is quickly becoming more and more popular, not least due to the number of amazing women in football being celebrated by the media.
The quality of women’s football is also improving year on year. Key to the rise of the quality of football in the game is the number of female coaches there are who are able to understand and implement tactics and inspire their team to success. One such woman is Derby County Ladies first-team coach, Sarah Green.
Sarah has had a background in playing and coaching football and has undertaken the UEFA A Licence coaching badge. She also works for the FA, Football League and Premier League in various guises.
In our Q&A, Sarah talks to us about her career path, obstacles she’s overcome and how she’s making an impact on both the men and women’s game.
Tell us a bit about your current role
I work for The FA in the FA Education department. I am the Regional PE and Coach Education Manager for the East region.
In addition to managing the 4 coordinators in my team I work with Football League and Premier League clubs to support their PE delivery in their community trusts. I’ll deliver courses, lead CPD activities and observe coaches deliver in schools. I also work with universities to support those students on teacher degrees or PGCert qualifications.
As I work in FA Education we also deliver football qualifications (FA Level 1s, 2s, UEFA B) across the country.
I am also currently the first team coach at Derby County Ladies FC.
What barriers have you faced in your career?
Possibly not barriers more challenges. On all the football courses I’ve attended I have been either the only female or one of a few. When I first started delivering coach education courses I was often delivering to a room full of males.
At times it was intimidating but to be honest I think the biggest barriers were placed there by me. Yes, I had some funny looks and comments that were made to make me feel small but I doubted myself more than I backed myself. I think there were both positives and negatives to that. It made me work harder to be better but it also kept me awake at night worrying and doubting myself.
What motivated you to keep going?
I’m a pretty determined person so I’ll keep going even after failing or when people tell me I can’t. I also have a real geeky thirst for new experiences and knowledge. I love learning and finding new ways that I can do things.
With regards to keeping on track with my career and qualifications, I knew what I wanted to achieve and I just kept focused on achieving them when the time was right for me.
What do you think we need to do to break down barriers in the workplace?
Talk more openly about them. Be confident to challenge them. I am guilty of letting things slide, but if we want things to change then we need to be confident to challenge others positively and hold them accountable to their actions and behaviours.
Who are your inspirations?
My friends and family inspire me the most I think. I like strong females like Michelle Obama, Theresa May and Fearne Cotton but I don’t really know them. I see the way my friends and family juggle their everyday lives, deal with setbacks, achieve success and I am inspired by that.
What three tips would you give to young females starting their careers?
You don’t need to behave like a male to be taken seriously. You can still be kind, emotional and all the things that make you and be great.
Think about your brand, what do you want people to know you for? What things are important to you? Be comfortable with these. You may end up working in a role or with people who have different values but you can use your brand to help you keep focused.
Find people who have strengths you admire and don’t be afraid to tell them! I am certain there will be something that they can learn from you too.
What’s great about being a female in your role?
My role is within the Grassroots section of FA Education which means I work with all the coaches and teachers who work within the grassroots section of football (not the professional game), because of this I get to meet loads of coaches (male and female) who I can both inspire to be great for themselves and the good of the game. Some of these will be female coaches starting out on their journey and I hope I can inspire them to believe they can have a full-time career in football now.
What do you hope to achieve in the future?
I am in the process of working that out. I have spent the past few months thinking about the things I like, the things I’m good at, things I would like to know more about, areas where I might need to improve. I would like to explore facility investment in football but I think I will always continue to work in some sort of coach development type role.
Why is #YesSheCan important to you?
I am a massive fan of anything that encourages, supports and empowers women, in particular young women; to achieve all the things that they never thought were possible.
I have firsthand experience of the impact a group of powerful, strong, intelligent women can have on you. My group of friends are all champions of each other, we support each on all of our endeavours, we are each other’s biggest cheerleaders and that gives us the confidence to take on any challenge!
If you're inspired by Sarah to get into the sports industry then make sure to see what jobs are available on our jobs page.