Balagué on Biggleswade United: Female coaches need equal representation
First the good news. We recently teamed up with the Bedfordshire FA to host at our Keech Hospice Care stadium a very well attended Continuing Professional Development course on women's football coaching. The not so good news is that most of those in attendance were men.
Through VEO, the new sponsors of Biggleswade United's women's section, not only are we able to provide subscription free football for the women in our two senior sides, we are also offering ten level one coaching courses to club volunteers or local women.
So far only four women have shown any interest in taking us up on our offer.
For the past four years we have been actively trying to get more women involved on the coaching side at the club both in the youth section as well as with our senior sides.
Both of our women's teams are currently coached by men and as good as they are and as much as we can continue in the same vein, they realise, as we all do, that some female coaching input in a women's football set up would help to make the teams better.
But it isn't just for the female section where I would like to see a greater female presence but throughout the club with all teams of all ages and gender.
I'm not exactly sure why we should be struggling to find women coaches although I suspect that perhaps women don't see a clear pathway from the world of volunteering into what they perceive to be the male-fuelled world of football coaching.
In the world of coaching, if a male coach does well with training youngsters then the chances are they may well go one step further and progress into a higher grade Academy.
Those coaches that involve themselves with senior football may well look into the possibility of entering the world of semi-professional or even full professional levels of the game. I am not convinced that women currently believe this is something available to them.
What we are trying to establish at our club is that road that will demonstrate to those women who join us in a coaching capacity that there is nothing to stand in their way if they want to go on to bigger and better things in the world of football and that everyone regardless of gender, nationality or sexual orientation will be given exactly the same opportunity to maximise their potential.
We are fortunate that at our club we have a number of UEFA, A, B and Pro Licence coaches that are always on hand to assist, advise and act as mentors to anyone who needs their guidance.
In the first instance I believe that we will build our project from within by looking close to home and recruiting new coaches from those girls and women who are currently playing for our female sides but whatever we do, we need to ensure that we find a way of guaranteeing that the women that make up around half of the world's population are as well represented and equally respected in the world of football as their male counterparts are.
Anyone interested in learning more about our plans can contact us on [email protected].