Over the next few days, 30 local coaches will become better armed to train female footballers at the youth level as the Barbados Football Association is currently hosting its fourth FIFA Women’s Football Coaching Course. Hosted at the Barbados Olympic Centre and conducted by Coaching Instructor Andrea Rodebaugh, the course is the next step in the sequence after previous installments focused primarily on the Grassroots level.
Running up till Friday this week, the course is expected to have a mix of theoretical and practical sessions each day to bring the candidates up to scratch on female coaching methods and tactics for the 13-16 age group. During a short opening ceremony held yesterday, Rodebaugh said that the course was timely as the women’s game was projected to garner a larger interest as there was a lot going on worldwide. Noting that we were fresh off a Women’s World Cup and heading into the Olympics this year, she added that there were two major youth championships on the cards this year.
“We’re also coming to a year where there’s two youth Women’s World Cups. The Under-17 will be played in Jordan and the Under-20 will be played in New Guinea at the end of this year. So this, of course, will have its repercussions all over the world. I know we have challenges here and one of them is coaching education, that’s why these courses are so important. I have always stressed the importance of the coaches in development. Why? Because you work directly with those children and what you transmit is going to have a direct impact on their development, their growth and the level of women’s football here in Barbados,” she said.
Making mention of the fact that it has been a major challenge over the years to get a Caribbean nation into the final stages of a Women’s World Cup, Rodebaugh said that the initiative was a step in the right direction. With the participation of the course being divided between 23 females and seven males, the former Mexico national player went on to say that the inclusion of men was necessary for the further development of the women’s form of the game. “It is very important to stress that this is a course for women’s football, it is not for women exclusively. It is for those who work with girls and women so the men are very welcome. FIFA is promoting women’s football on and off the field and we want to see females involved in football at all levels of the game but it is not a war against the men. I have always said that it is important that we learn from the men because they have the experience. So we need to be inclusive and not exclusive,” she said.
Representing the BFA, Vice President, Captain Al Walcott urged the participants to glean all they could from Rodebaugh and urged them to pass on everything that they learned. “We don’t want you to sit down and just keep the training to yourselves. Go back to the clubs. There are a number of clubs that are represented here that will be playing women’s football and we need to go back to the clubs. Try to raise the standard of women’s football so that you take this information and try to be the best coach in the island. You should be competing with each other in good stead and I believe that in competing with each other, when the women’s league actually starts in September, the standard will be a lot higher. We are depending on you,” he said. (MP)