Football Coaches Australia (FCA) has announced Kelly Rourke as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
An experienced leader with a wealth of industry background, Rourke has spent 20 years in the UK police force and has built a strong reputation in Australia.
Her past roles include Greyhound Racing NSW and Head of Control and Compliance with Tabcorp, while she spent five years with National Rugby League South Australia as the State Manager, making significant strides for the sport in South Australia.
Rourke was also the Chair for The Marjorie Jackson-Nelson Centre for Women’s Sport, offering the chance to empower women in various sporting roles from athletes and coaches to officials, administrators, board members and community players. This supports females to play, lead and change the game for future generations.
Currently, Rourke is with Greyhound Racing SA as General Manager, while she also volunteered for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 events in Adelaide and even plays as an attacking defender in her home state.
Speaking to Soccerscene, Rourke shared what the CEO role means to her.
“I’m a big football fan and being English it’s something that I’ve been involved in my whole life,” she said.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to give back to coaches who generally get forgotten about.
“Everything that FCA does has the greatest intention for the game – the Australian coaching community has a lot of potential and it’s something I wanted to be part of.”
Working with President Gary Cole, Rourke will be a forward-thinker to drive the standards for coaching in Australia.
“Gary goes above and beyond and his background in the game speaks for itself,” Rourke said.
“His enthusiasm emanates through – for example with The Football Coaching Life Podcast and it’s going to be great to hear more stories.
“He was one of the first people I spoke to and was instrumental in wanting me to take the CEO role.”
As she settles into the CEO position, Rourke outlined what she hopes to achieve in the coming weeks and months.
“We just need to take some time to figure out where we want to take FCA, for grassroots right up to elite coaching,” she said.
“I really need to understand what coaches want from us and from there that’s where I can direct my focus.”
“Being English, I look at the Premier League and see the opportunities created down in the lower divisions and the amount of jobs created, with female coaches involved in that.
“Holistically from grassroots, we’ll look at the pyramid of coaching – if Australia want to be the best in the world we need investment in this area.
“For example, what happens when players get to the end of their career – we need a clear and established pathway, and with my background I can bring a different lens to see what can be improved.”
Off the back of FIFA World Cup exploits for both the Socceroos and Matildas, the future of Australian coaching will remain an integral growth area for the game.