Girls’ Football Week profile – Sarah Lawler
To celebrate The FA’s Girls’ Football Week, AoC Sport is running a series of profiles on a range of females from across the game.
We’ve already spoken with Doncaster Belles midfielder Emily Simpkins, former Birmingham Metropolitan College student Kirsty Dixon, and FA National Women’s Football Participation Manager Rachel Pavlou this week
Today, we catch up with UEFA A Licence coach Sarah Lawler, who is currently England Lionesses U15 assistant coach and a regional elite women’s coach developer, and has experienced a wide range of roles within the game, having previously studied at Yeovil College.
What made you decide to coach in football?
I was playing at the time with Yeovil Town Ladies and volunteering with a local club so it seemed logical to gain some qualifications to support the players and develop myself. Yeovil College were always proactive at promoting NGB qualifications and explained the number of career opportunities available through sport which was really useful.
How has coaching in football helped develop your personal/workplace skills?
I think a lot more about people’s motivation – why they are involved in something, what drives them, what challenges them, who supports and inspires them. Like anything in life if you can get to know the person you can support them better, work closer together no matter if that’s in football or the workplace.
What benefits are there for colleges to offer a good level of female football opportunities?
Given that women’s football is such a massive sport, colleges should be asking themselves why not promote and develop women’s football. It’s the largest participation sport for females and one of the top team sports played across any gender. Colleges only need to look at the large network of local girls’ and women’s teams to see how many students they could engage into a football and education programme.
To what extent do you feel it’s important for colleges to have a pathway link with a local club?
For me it’s a no brainer! If you enjoy playing football at college then the college should support you with links to an FA Charter Standard Club in the local area, where they can continue to enjoy the sport. This can only benefit the college with more training and contact time with their players. County Football Associations are keen to support colleges to do this so if in doubt contact your local County FA.
I started playing football again at college after leaving the sport since being on the ‘boys team’ at primary school (as it wasn’t allowed at secondary). The chance to build my confidence again at college was great and as a result of this I joined a club the college had links with. I can honestly say that helped me fall back in love with the game and I probably wouldn’t be doing this job today without that.