The need for more women coaches – Interview with FCA’s Aish Ravi

New Football Coaches Australia (FCA) Executive Committee member Aish Ravi has made it her mission to inspire more women to take up coaching roles, from the community level to the highest level of sport in Australia.

Ravi, who is undertaking a Doctor of Philosophy focusing on women’s coaching education in football, believes Football Coaches Australia is an organisation that can challenge the current status quo amongst the coaching ranks.

“I think FCA has definitely got the potential to make a lot of change in the coaching and leadership space. I’m really excited to help them enact that change,” she said.

“I’m currently doing a PHD looking at women in sport. It’s really about understanding what women’s experiences are in football and why there is a lack of them, and seeing what strategies we can put in place to change that.

“I met Glenn Warry (CEO of FCA) through my involvement of working within the Victorian NPL system and he wanted me to use my knowledge and expertise I guess, in wanting to contribute to give women a voice in FCA.

“We wanted to see how we can amplify their voices, provide more exposure for them and also see how we can increase the number of women coaches.”

A VCE Business Management and Economics teacher by day, Ravi was personally introduced to coaching when she was asked to coach the school’s football side.

After completing an appropriate coaching licence course, she would go on to manage Junior NPL teams at Heidelberg United and Bayside United, before eventually being offered a position to coach the women’s senior team at Bentleigh Cobras.

“We ended up winning the championship in my first season (at Bentleigh) in 2019 which was really exciting,” Ravi said.

“Now we are just trying to regroup and see if we can do the same thing this year.”

Ravi’s passion for coaching is helped by her enthusiasm for working with younger people.

“I really enjoy working with them in a holistic way, so getting to know them and understanding what their interests, motivations and desires are to help them achieve their best,” she said.

“That combined with the love of football, is really why I enjoy coaching football in particular. It’s the world game and once you understand and know that, you can talk to so many people from so many different places. It’s something I get a lot of excitement and enjoyment from.”

FCA Executive Committee member Aish Ravi.

Despite these positive experiences in football, Ravi would still see the coaching game in general dominated heavily by males, something that she believed needed to be addressed.

In response to this, she would go on to co-found the Women’s Coaching Association (WCA) last year with fellow PHD candidate Julia Hay.

“I coach football, but I also play Australian rules and cricket, so I’m quite heavily involved in the community with sport in general,” Ravi said.

“Julia has an Australian Rules background and from talking and sharing our experiences we realised that a lot of the barriers women face coaching football (from my perspective), were actually also similar to that of other sports.

“Sports such as Australian Rules, Cricket, Hockey, Netball all shared common challenges. So, we founded WCA, really to get all the sports together, not just for football.

“We wanted to really bring it together for the coaches, in particular women coaches, but also men who are coaching women.

“We would like to see how we can first of all attract more women and girls to coach sport, how we can develop the women and girls who are currently coaching a team in these sports and also sustain a career.

“They are the three real objectives we have.”

According to Ravi, events like The Women’s World Cup in 2023, the biggest sporting event to be held on our shores since the 2000 Olympics, will hopefully act as a catalyst for necessary social changes in women’s sport. Not only at a coaching or playing capacity, but also at a leadership level.

“It’s a really important event,” she said.

“Sport is the most powerful social institution. It’s great that the Football World Cup is the world’s largest women’s sporting event and it’s awesome that it’s at our home.

“If the Matildas have success that’s great, that can show the young girls and women that they have a pathway, a career, that’s celebrated and respected and perhaps they can succeed in.

“But It’s also vital that we have women leaders that are visible and succeeding, that sends an equally powerful message that there are also career opportunities off the field.”

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Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

2024 PFA Players Agents Conference to kick off mid-July at Veriu Hotel

Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) has confirmed that the 2024 PFA Player’s Agent Conference will be held on the July 19 at the Veriu Hotel in Queen Victoria Market.

This conference is a longstanding initiative between the PFA and the Australian Football Agents Association (AFAA).

This official conference is an opportunity for discussion between the players’ representative union and the many accredited agents and experts in the football industry.

Here the floor will be open for conversation around the tactics and strategies of managing and encouraging the huge talent within Australian football.

Some of the ascribed organisations involved in this conference include with the PFA, Football Australia, the Australian Football Agents Association and FIFPRO.

This is a key space for all parties to deliver their opinions and guidance on how best to amplify the opportunities in football and maintain the well-being of the players and industry

This includes topics such as the latest National Team CBA, trends in Asian football and the management mechanisms of players and agents.

Within the conference, there will be dialogue on key issues that have been constant in this industry including:

  • Agent Regulations
  • State of the game
  • CBA Analysis
  • National Team CBA Update
  • Commercial strength of athletes
  • Tax and financial advice
  • Trends in Asian football
  • Legal update
  • TransferRoom

All these topics are flagged by both player unions and agents as areas from which the collaboration needs to be further explored and resolved with all parties satisfied.

That’s why these conferences are held in such high esteem within the footballing community and a big step in productivity strategies.

“Football agents are an important part of the football industry,” PFA Co-CEO Kate Gill stated via media release.

“The PFA Player Agents conference, in partnership with the Australian Football Agents Association, is a platform that allows for ongoing collaboration and dialogue on emerging issues, reform and regulations within our sport.

“We recognise that a better-informed industry leads to better outcomes for all.”

The conference will be followed closely, and more information/outcomes will be presented when the conference concludes.

Key Information:

Venue: Veriu Hotel, Queen Victoria Market. Melbourne
Date: Friday, 19th July 2024
Time: 9:30 am to 5:00 pm

Lake Macquarie City to compete in NPL Women NNSW from 2025

Lake Macquarie City FC is set to join the NPL Women’s Northern NSW competition next year, replacing Warners Bay FC after relinquishing their NPLW licence once the 2024 season concludes.

This comes after Warners Bay’s decision to hand back their NPLW licence after a thorough evaluation of the resources and infrastructure required to successfully manage a premier league program in a rapidly growing women’s football landscape. Therefore, this move will see Lake Macquarie City enter teams into all NPL Women’s NNSW grades, as well as competitions such as the Premier Youth League Girls and Junior Development League.

Warners Bay FC President Nathan Aurisch spoke about the difficult decision:

“The club ultimately found itself unable to meet the increasing demands and criteria associated with managing a Premier program, including volunteers and financial requirements, without impacting the Community Football program,” Aurisch said via their club’s website.

“We want to acknowledge the significant contributions of all our players, coaches, volunteers and supporters that have led to a very successful period of women’s football at Warners Bay. Warners Bay FC will continue to focus on our core business which is to give those girls and boys an environment to enjoy and play football.

“We understand that this transition may be difficult for many and we want to assure everyone involved that this decision was not made lightly. We are committed to support the players, coaches and staff affected by this change. Lake Macquarie City FC has expressed their openness to welcoming Warners Bay FC players and staff who wish to continue competing at the premier level.”

Lake Macquarie City President Steve Graham showed his respects to Warners Bay FC and hopes his club will be the premier pathway and development choice for footballers in the region.

“Our commitment lies in establishing high standards for football education, modern facilities and fostering a network of affiliates that empowers talented female and male players to realise their full potential,” Graham said via a Northern NSW Football media release.

“Transferring Warners Bay FC’s Women and Girls NPLW program to LMCFC aligns seamlessly with our player development framework and overall action plan for the club. We want to acknowledge the fantastic contribution that Warners Bay FC have made to women’s football in the northern NSW region.

“Our club is committed to offering the best development environment for players in the northern NSW football region. We are excited about this opportunity to provide an inclusive pathway for young female players from grassroots to glory with the addition of this licence.”

Warners Bay FC enjoyed a successful run in the NPLW where they were the NNSWF Women’s Premier League premiers in 2017 and 2018, winning the grand final in 2016, having been beaten in the 2017, 2018 and 2020 deciders. The Panthers also won the NPL Women’s NNSW double in 2022 being crowned premiers and champions after beating Newcastle Olympic 4-2 in the Grand Final.

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