Paid Internship launched by Women’s Training Network at Tottenham Hotspur

In association with Tottenham Hotspur and Nike, the Women’s Coaching Network (FCN) has launched a paid internship for women looking to break into coaching and provide a pathway into soccer. This is believed to be the first paid placement of its kind for female coaches in the game.

This season-long, fully-funded internship is seen as a unique and innovative approach to addressing the lack of female coaches in the English Premier League and Women’s Super League.

In the post since last November, intern Danielle Boyd has been placed in Tottenham Hotspur’s women’s academy where she can be monitored by a range of the club’s talented coaches. By exposing Boyd to the club’s talent pipeline, she will hopefully gain experience not currently available in the game.

Tottenham Hotspur women are coached by Rehanne Skinner, who took Spurs to a record fifth place in the Women’s Premier League last season. Before her appointment in November 2020, she spent two decades herself gaining coaching experience at all levels of the talent pipeline and founded Leicester City Women. She was Head Coach at Leicester City, in Wales, and in England at various age groups, and was eventually assistant coach of the senior team under Phil Neville.

Such a long-term commitment has been an insurmountable obstacle in the pursuit of female coaches in the women’s game, where contracts are shorter and less compensated. By creating a paid coaching pathway for talented female coaches, this internship aims to break down the barriers that prevent women from accessing networks, education and opportunities in coaching pathways. In addition, the Women’s Coaching Network is committed to providing one-on-one coaching to the intern, facilitating their learning throughout and ensuring that the coachee reaches their full potential.

Speaking about the launch of the partnership, Skinner said “we are proud to work alongside the Women’s Coaching Network and Nike to provide Danielle with an invaluable learning experience. As a Club, we want to lead by example and this innovative internship clearly identifies a need. to support women in ways not provided elsewhere.”

“Over the years, I have had to overcome so many barriers to reach the elite level that is still very much there today. Unfortunately, we are still not in a place where you get respect from male colleagues to be in the same position, you are to judge and challenge your knowledge immediately because you will be expected to know no more than you expect.”

Founded in 2014 by Coaching Consultant Vicky Huyton and James Walkington, an advocate for gender equality in sport, the Women’s Coaching Network describes itself as ‘The World’s Leading Community of Women Coaches who Support, Drive and Influence Change in Sport. ‘

Tottenham Hotspur are one of four clubs left in the Women’s Super League to have a female head coach, along with Aston Villa, Chelsea and Reading. In fact, along with Skinner, Spurs employ a female assistant coach, Vicky Jepson. This compares to last season, when half of the Women’s Super League clubs were led by head coaches.

Chelsea have won six of their last eight in the English league and have been coached by Emma Hayes, the 2021 winner of the FIFA Women’s Coach of the Year title. Additionally, four of the last five Women’s World Cups, the last five Olympic Games and the last seven European Championships have been won by teams led by female head coaches, a statistic that is unmatched with the sport comprising the majority of national teams. still led by male coaches.

In October, results from the Football Association’s (FA) Football Leadership Diversity Code showed that only 40 of the 120 coaches hired by the women’s game in the past year were women (33%), some way short of the FA’s 50% target . .

Speaking last month, Arsenal Women’s head coach Jonas Eidevall failed to understand why there weren’t more female coaches in the men’s game. “You can have female presidents but you can’t have female coaches in the Premier League. Why? She’s got to be the single most underutilized resource in professional football.”

It is hoped that the B & Beyond FCN/UEFA Internship could soon be implemented in other clubs with the Cruyff Institute offering discounts to coaches and interns registered on the scheme on various coaching courses such as ‘Managerial Football’, ‘Strategic Planning in Football’ and ‘Football Business Fundamentals’.

Huyton, co-founder of the Women’s Coaching Network, said “this is a fantastic opportunity for us to create change in the world of elite football coaching. Female coaches do not have the same paths as their male peers, therefore. it is vital that we deliberately work towards creating opportunities for them.”

“A big thank you to Tottenham Hotspur and Nike for supporting this program and for the hard work the intern has already shown as she works from November 2022.”

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