FURD took part in an event at Sheffield United FC last night offering support, advice and networking opportunities for football coaches and aspiring coaches, particularly ones from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.
The Creating and Developing Coaches: Inclusive Coach Network event was one of a series of events being held at different football clubs. The initiative was organised by Leeds Beckett University in partnership with the local FA and aims to help boost BME representation in football, and particularly in coaching. Also represented at the event were Sheffield United Community Foundation, Yorkshire Sport Foundation, the Football Association and Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA.
Key note speakers were Steve Smithies, FA regional Coach Mentor Officer, and Vill Powell.
Vill Powell is an ex-professional footballer having played for Sheffield Wednesday FC and is now manager of semi-professional side Brighouse Town. He holds a UEFA A Licence, is also an FA Coach Mentor and a member of Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA Inclusion and Advisory Group. Vill spoke about the support he'd received from FURD, which helped fund his coaching courses and gain managerial experience with Sharrow United.
He talked about the barriers he'd faced - "it seemed like I was always being told I needed one more qualification than I had - and once I'd got all the qualifications I was told I didn't have the experience. I thought there must be something wrong with me when people with fewer qualifications and less experience than me were getting jobs and I wasn't." Eventually he got a job at Rotherham United Academy where he stayed for two years.
"You've got to have that perseverance, which I did. My advice is to be prepared for disappointments, but don't let the knock backs prevent you getting to your destination". He also stressed that progress is being made, with more emphasis now on coaches having the right qualifications, and bursaries are sometimes available for coaching courses.
FURD runs coaching sessions for different age groups throughout the week at the U-Mix Centre and on Sundays at the Sheffield United Academy. We employ a very ethnically diverse team of coaches, most of whom started working with us as volunteers. Contact us for more information.
For more information about the Creating and Developing Coaches initiative, follow the links below.
For photos from the event, check out our Facebook and Twitter feeds at the links below.