As part of a link up with the FAI Coach Education Department, all players in the SSE Airtricity Women’s National League can avail of free coaching courses.

Since its inception, the Player Education Programme has been making coaching courses accessible to underage players, from Under-17s up to Under-19 level as they complete the National D Licence.

Now, the Programme has been extended to cater for senior players in the Women’s National League, who can go on to complete the UEFA C Licence course.

The aim of this fully-funded programme is to:

• To develop player's knowledge and understanding of the game from the coach's perspective
• To provide players with coaching qualifications to avail of coaching employment with the FAI on Elverys Summer Soccer Schools and Aviva Soccer Sisters camps
• To provide players with foundational coaching qualifications to support a dual career approach
• To provide players with a ‘coaches eye’ perspective of the game and enhancing their current knowledge, skills and personal attributes
• To utilise the medium of football as a catalyst to create lifelong learners, thus creating a positive reference in terms of experiencing further education and training

In addition to this, the FAI are delighted to be provided with additional funding for the continued development of the women’s game with the new UEFA Youth B Licence and being able to facilitate a female-only version of the course.

The course had over 50 applications and coaches will be notified in coming weeks with a second course planned for 2022.

FAI Head of Coach Education Niall O’Regan said: “it is great to see the amount of investment being placed on ensuring the best possible transition from playing to coaching. The statistics don’t lie and it can be so difficult for those playing to make a transition out of the game and having these coaching qualifications will not only benefit them now as a player but will enhance their transition into coaching when the time comes.

“UEFA have provided phenomenal support to us in the development of the number of female-qualified coaches and the figures show the growth in this area, with us having nine female UEFA B Licence holders in 2017 and now having 90, with another 30 expected to complete the course in 2021.

“Having the funding now to allow these coaches further develop themselves with a women’s-only UEFA Youth B Licence, allows for us to continue to grow the number of female coaches with UEFA Licences. The real value is the number of the coaches who are active with 60% of the coaches who have completed these funded programmes actively coaching, from amateur level all the way up to working within the underage international teams.”