Football Coaches Australia unveil Football Coaching Life expansion

Gary Cole FCA

Football Coaches Australia (FCA) have announced that The Football Coaching Life Podcast will make the exciting transition into video format and be available via YouTube from this week.

Since February 2021, The Football Coaching Life Podcast has steadily grown into one of the strongest sources of insight and information for professional, semi-professional, grassroots and aspiring coaches in Australia.

The Football Coaching Life Podcast reflects not just the range of Australian coaches located across the world, but also the variety of talented male and female coaches involved in the men’s and women’s game both domestically and abroad.

Hosted by legend of Australian football and recent inductee into the Football Victoria Hall of Fame, Gary Cole, the podcast has sought to give a platform to some of Australia’s most successful and brightest up-and-coming coaches, with guests including Tanya Oxtoby, Ange Postecoglou and Alen Stajcic.

“The podcast has been running for just over a year now thanks to the significant help of MAKING MEDIA, the podcast professionals. From day one we recorded them initially via Zoom because our intent was always that we would find a home for them. We’ve captured around 25 episodes now and have reviewed what we’ve been doing on an ongoing basis, and we’ve got well over 16,000 listens of the podcast now,” Cole says.

“I think the whole purpose of moving it to video is that it will touch more people – more people will watch and more people will listen. It’s a fantastic opportunity for coaches of any sport to learn because there’s so much knowledge and wisdom about leadership and culture being shared. There’s so much of the coaches telling their story, and we all have different stories. And the reason we started was because most of the stories haven’t been told.

“We believe that there’s not a ‘one size fits all’ for coaching, it’s something that is very personal and you’ve got to find your way. And across that journey, their coaching and approach to coaching changes. Now we have the opportunity to watch and listen, not just listen.

“At the end of the day, FCA was setup to help coaches at all different levels. That includes supporting their mental health, representing them and helping them with their ongoing education.”

Sarah West, Vice President of FCA and Assistant Coach/Analyst for Canberra United, expressed her excitement at being able to effectively reflect the values of FCA through amplifying the podcast’s reach with the new video format.

“One of our goals is to enhance the profile of Australian coaches, and the other is to provide Australian coaches with resources; whether that be educational, professional development and opportunities to have positive conversations about football.

“Effectively, through the work that we’re doing with MAKING MEDIA and Ralph Barba, packaging up those podcasts and having them delivered to our audio channels has been hugely successful.

“The diversity of FCA’s modern media and coach education platforms for coaches is not matched by any other Australian football coaching provider.”

Karen Grega FCA Executive Committee member and podcast editor stated:

“‘The Coaching Life’ provides an insight into the personalities of the coaches, as well as their own journeys (sometimes warts and all). This is something which obviously comes from them being in a comfortable environment. This makes for great viewing and listening for coaches at all levels and the football-loving public generally.  

The calibre of Australian female coaches making their mark (in often challenging circumstances) in the game both locally and oversees is impressive. It’s certainly a far cry from my days as a player and referee. I’m sure the content in ‘The Coaching life’ will resonate with coaches from many other sports as well.”

There are many ‘take-aways’ for those in the corporate sector as coaches share their views and experiences on topics such as Resilience, Leadership, Mentoring and even the impact of social media.

Gary’s own invaluable contribution to both the questions he poses and the coaches responses comes from his own football and teaching experience, empathy and of course, passion for the game and adds to the valuable lessons learned from each episode.

The Football Coaching Life Podcasts and YouTube videos are available now.

Football West launches innovative Arabian Engagement Strategy

Western Australia grants

Football West have confirmed its Arabian Engagement Strategy in partnership with the Council for Australian-Arab Relations and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Simply, it seeks to enhance Australia’s bilateral ties with Arab countries through a shared passion for the world game.

In what is truly a first of its kind in Australian football, Football West and the Federal Government are using this Arabian Engagement Strategy to grow international engagement between Australia and Arab countries specifically through the delivery of training, education, school programs, tours, competitions and the development of players, coaches, and referees.

DFAT has confirmed a $50,000 grant from the Council for Australia-Arab Relations with the total project value listed at $297,786.

Football West CEO Jamie Harnwell spoke about the potential of growing WA football through this innovative collaboration said via press release: 

“The incredible growth of football in the Arab region is well documented and Football West is excited to be involved.” he said in a Football West statement,” he said. 

“We saw Qatar host the FIFA World Cup 18 months ago, while Saudi Arabia will host the tournament in 2034 and has currently attracted some of the biggest names in world football including Cristiano Ronaldo. And the UAE has the current AFC Champions League winners in Al Ain FC.

“Below the headline acts there is massive potential at grassroots levels in the three countries through sporting and cultural exchange visits.

“The primary objective is to position football in Western Australia as a prominent player within the three countries and offer West Australians unique opportunities in sports, culture and education.

“This includes joint development, training and technical programs; coaches and referee workshops; and matches between WA State teams and sides from Qatar, UAE and Saudi.

“The Arabian Engagement Strategy will further promote Football West and the Sam Kerr Football Centre as hubs for team base camps, professional training and exchange programs.

“We have seen the value of the Sam Kerr Football Centre with the recent visit of the Socceroos, and last year with the Matildas. Perth can deliver and that is being seen around the world.”

It is an interesting initiative that is innovative and ambitious as it seeks to reach the Middle East through the sport.

With the grant money tied in there is clearly a plan in place to execute it properly and hopefully provide WA teams with better training and development workshops for its players and referees.

FCA CEO Kelly Rourke discusses future ambitions for Australian football coaching

Kelly Rourke

Football Coaches Australia (FCA) CEO Kelly Rourke has certainly had an unorthodox career on her way to taking over this role in December last year, but her wealth of sports administration experience paired with her glaring passion for football promises to help coaches in Australia progress further than ever before.

Off the back of the Matildas World Cup success and after state federation annual reports suggesting a sizeable increase in the number of coaches participating, Australian coaching education and wellbeing has never been more of an integral part of our local game.

In an interview with Soccerscene, Rourke discusses her career journey to the present day, her overall ambition for the future of local coaching in this role and how she will empower female coaches as the game surges in popularity.

About yourself, how was the journey to becoming FCA CEO? What roles have you done and what is your background in football?

My background is in policing believe it or not. Majority of my career to date has been involved in various roles of policing from patrol work to investigations so that’s the big backbone of my career and is what ultimately brought me over to Australia from England. I came out and joined the police here, got recruited whilst I was still in England because they were on the search for specialist skills.

I’ve been involved in sport my entire life. Back in the day when I was a teenager, I played for Bradford City and Huddersfield Town so I’ve been involved in football for as long as I can remember as a player. I eventually got stolen by Rugby League and played for England.

When I got to Australia and left the police, I got into various different jobs including a Management Executive role, one with Tabcorp and ultimately, I ended up becoming an administrator for the NRL which is where I get my sports admin background from.

I’m also a chairwoman for a centre in South Australia called The Marjorie Jackson-Nelson Centre for Women’s Sport which is a government-funded project that will initially go for four years where we are doing a 12-month course for females to try and bridge the gender gap across all sports, all levels and all roles.

It’s not been an obvious career where I’ve worked in sport or football my entire life, but football is by far the first sport that grabbed by attention, and my career background would probably surprise a few people.

Do you have an overall plan or ambition for coaches in Australia as the CEO of FCA?

I think we need to try and offer something like the PFA does, I think a big goal for us this year that we will try to achieve is standardised contracts in the APL and NPL. We need to be securing the futures of our coaches in order to keep the talent in Australia and also to foster coaches from Europe and across the world to come over here, and that only happens with the introduction of standardised coaching contracts across the professional leagues.

That includes formalised grievance procedures, dispute resolution, tribunals. I just think it is long overdue, we really need to be safeguarding the development of our coaches but also their wellbeing. That’s got to be our starting block, we need to secure that and then hopefully we can float it out to the APL and across community football. If we don’t take care of their wellbeing, we are going to lose coaches and without coaches, there is no football.

Working with the A-Leagues and the FA on coach development is one of our most important goals. We’ve got to be driving change forward and offering similar services to the PFA who are a great organisation to learn from.

For the local game, what’s FCA’s role in encouraging a growth in the number of local coaches?

We do a lot of coach education so the FA have moved to the UEFA way of coach development, so it used to be that coaches obtained points in order to retain their licences but now its hours. We’ve been working closely with the FA to understand what it looks like and ensure that we can deliver meaningful coach education to our coaches, and we do that free of charge to our members. We host workshops and webinars with top coaches to help with that.

As a woman in power, are there any moves that you’re making to bridge the gender gap for coaching in Australian football?

I’m not sure when FCA brought me in they had a female in mind, they just wanted fresh eyes and someone enthusiastic, and I do this role because I love it and am passionate about the game, I still play and heavily involved with coaches and community football. They wanted to bring someone who had the knowledge of the game that’s got a lot of sports administration experience behind them which I do have.

The FA have invited me to a Women’s football summit in June and I think that really shows there is progress with the FA for the fact I’ve been invited. Obviously, I want to increase opportunities for our female coaches, we’ve only got two head coaches in the A-Leagues. It was good to see Emily Husband get announced as coach of the year and we’ve got Kat Smith who didn’t have a job until a few weeks out from the season when Western United snapped her up, so we really want to drive and show the female coaches the pathway.

Being a woman does it encourage that? Of course it does for me because I know what it’s like to be an athlete or a coach and not have those opportunities so a big part of my role will involve creating more stabilised roles for our coaches but also creating the pathway for women to nurture the talent we’ve got.

We need to see more female coaches in NPL teams and in the A-Leagues for sure and I think Emily [Husband] winning coach of the year is a great start, I can’t celebrate that enough.

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