Twila Kilgore knew her career path when she was 12 years old. She owe her youth soccer her coach for taking her to her practice.
During those rides she got to hear “Everything that was going on behind the scenes” and was “It exposes you to what coaches actually do.” she said. “At that time, I almost knew I was going to coach when the play was over.”
Currently, she is an assistant to the US Women’s National Team and one of only four women in the United States to hold an Elite Pro license from the United States Soccer Federation.
Kilgore Road makes her unusual. American Her Football has limited coaching opportunities for women at the top of the sport, and the cost of obtaining the necessary licenses can be a barrier.
The issue has come to the attention of FIFA. According to his 2019 survey by the international governing body of football, more than 13 million girls and women played organized football, but only 7% of his coaches worldwide are women. bottom.
The shortage of capable women was accentuated by the plethora of vacancies created by men who were forced out of the country’s top professional leagues.
When a scandal rocked the U.S. Women’s Soccer League in 2021, five male coaches were fired or forced to resign for cheating, harassment or abuse. Earlier this month, four of those men were banned from coaching in the NWSL after an investigation by the league and players union.
Today, there are only three women holding head coaching jobs in the 12-team league: OL Rain’s Laura Harvey, San Diego’s Casey Stoney and Angel City’s Freya Combe. coaches will have their first seasons with their respective teams.
Money is a glaring obstacle for women trying to break into such elite circles.
The best coaching licenses are expensive to obtain.A USSF professional license costs $10,000.The process is time consuming and labor intensive.Many times there are teams and leagues behind male coaches. , will provide you with time to complete the course at your expense.
Kilgore, who worked for the Houston Dash before joining the staff of the national team’s Bratko Andonovski, received financial support from the Dash and FIFA, a scholarship fund founded by former national team coach Jill Ellis. With your help, I obtained her professional license.
“I can say that I am very grateful for this, because in the process of getting my license so far, I have paid for my own expenses by offsetting it little by little from the university where I worked.” Kilgore said. “It’s a big barrier for a lot of people.”
Professional players — the logical pool for attracting future coaches — typically don’t earn enough to pay for higher level courses. The average NWSL salary is $54,000. Players also keep themselves busy with the rigors of their professional careers.
“Some players are interested in coaching education, but our schedules make it difficult and expensive to attend regular coaching programs.” Washington Spirit goalkeeper Nicole Barnhardt, who also played for the United States, said: She has her two lower level coaching licenses.
The NWSL Players Association was so concerned about costs and available coaching pathways that a collective bargaining agreement signed last year included a clause to help players cover registration costs.
USA Soccer is providing financial assistance through the Jill Ellis Scholarship Fund, which honors the legacy of two-time Women’s World Cup-winning coaches. Launched in 2020, the program aims to double the number of elite women in coaching by 2024.
FIFA also offers scholarships and introduced a mentorship program last year with 80 applications. Attendees gathered in August at her Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.
FIFA’s efforts to involve more women in coaching are also tailored for individual member associations. For example, Trinidad and Tobago had no coaches who would benefit from a higher level course, but a need for a lower licensing course, and 20 women applied.
“We talk about how important it is for women athletes to be seen on TV and in advertising. If you don’t see it, you say you don’t believe it. But I think it’s the same for coaches.” Arijana Demirovic, Head of Women’s Football Development at FIFA, said:
Another result that draws more women into coaching is the prospect that the concerns of female players will be addressed in a more thoughtful manner.
Upheaval in the NWSL has led to two investigations into cheating in the league. One of his investigations, conducted by former Acting US Attorney General Sally Q. Yeats, was at the request of US Soccer.survey revealed “A league of abuse and misconduct—verbal abuse and emotional abuse and sexual misconduct—organized and spread across multiple teams, coaches and victims”.
Two of the former coaches Yeats investigated — Christy Holly of Racing Louisville and Rory Dames of the Chicago Red Stars — did not hold the required A-level licenses to coach in the NWSL.
Yates’ report states that all NWSL coaches must obtain an A-level license (one step below a professional license), turning the licensing process into a certification program that requires background screening and annual recertification. is recommended.
Kate Markgraf, general manager of the US Women’s Team, pointed out another hurdle for licensed coaches. Jobs aren’t as plentiful as women’s leagues are low, and men have a big head start in the industry.
For example, data collected by the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sports at the University of Minnesota revealed that 70.9% of Division 1 women’s soccer teams are coached by men.
“This is part of the overall strategy: How can we make sure women are in the pipeline, staying there and not on the glass cliff? Retention is hard and turnover is common. “ Markgraf said. “We have to be intentional about how we support all women recruited in male-dominated industries.”
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