Women’s Soccer News: Nicole Farley on Why Female Coaches Are Important in Youth Soccer
Interviewed for our Women in Soccer Series, Nicole Farley coaches youth soccer at Laguna United Soccer Club and Dana High School. Farley is the high school’s Head Coach for the Freshman and Sophomore Girls program. Always looking to inspire her players to do their best, Farley’s Laguna United U19 team were finalists in the Orange County Kickoff Classic in summer 2014 and her U12 girls recently made the finals of the Long Beach Invitational. Soccer is Farley’s passion and she gives back by sharing her knowledge of twenty years in the game.
Diane Scavuzzo: What inspires you to coach?
Nicole Farley: Coaching is more than just a win, loss or tie. For me, coaching is helping players develop as an individuals, and helping each and every player develop as an athlete and as a person to their fullest potential.
Every player is different, so the challenge to create a positive learning environment suitable to the needs of each individual and team keeps me on my toes! The opportunity to teach life skills through sports is a gift; It is a joy helping players understand the importance of respect, goal setting, the value of hard work and communication mirrored by the ability to listen.
Diane Scavuzzo: How important is it to have the same sex coach if you are a girl?
Nicole Farley: As girls soccer continues to grow, it is so important that more female coaches get in the game.
In my experience of coaching, I feel girls can express themselves easier with a female coach. Whether that be feeling more confident to demonstrate a skill or simply asking a question. Having a female coach is easier for girls to relate to. The notion is simple, if the female coach can do it, then the so can the young girl player.
Girls can look up to their female counterpart; be empowered and aspire to follow in their coaches’ footsteps.
It is important to recognize that boys and girls develop, learn and interact differently.
For example, before a training session, boys are typically having a ‘kick about’, bringing FIFA to the field and imitating the skills of their favorite players and challenging their teammates.
Girls are different. The majority of females are social and need time to catch up before they get mentally going in a soccer training session. I know female coaches recognize this traits easily and can adapt coaching styles quicker to nurture these behaviors; while still implementing quality coaching with high expectations.
Diane Scavuzzo: Do female coaches face any special challenges?
Nicole Farley: As a female coach working in a predominantly male field, you always have to prove yourself.
Born and raised in England, the women’s game was always inferior to the men’s and as such the stereotype that women do not properly understand football, or soccer in America.
I think this is a common trend worldwide. Many men seem to think female aspirations should stop at ‘soccer mum’. Overall, battling old fashioned male egos can mean a female coach’s opinion is not always valued and their coaching integrity is often questioned. Women have to work a lot harder to gain the an equal level of respect in the coaching world, despite often obtaining the same credentials.
The sex of a coach does not impact the quality of their coaching ability.
Diane Scavuzzo: Do many male coaches believe they are superior? Is chauvinism alive in the soccer world?
Nicole Farley: I have worked alongside some great male coaches; open-minded, insightful and modern to the ever growing popular female game. Nevertheless in the bigger picture, this small minority of enlightened male coaches are swamped by the male dominated cycle.
Diane Scavuzzo: Are there enough quality opportunities for women coaches in America’s soccer world?
Nicole Farley: The level of opportunity for females is questionable and this is why I think there are so few women coaches.
Are females given a fair chance? Is the female expectation lower than that of her male colleague because it is deemed that she can only deliver simplistic, novice sessions with limited tactical strategy? Are female’s encouraged enough to pursue a coaching career? Do females feel intimidated within coaching education? There are many unanswered questions.
I believe our current female coaches need to support other striving females in the soccer industry, raise awareness of education in the game and use their countless playing experiences.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is it like coaching at Laguna United Soccer Club in Southern California?
Nicole Farley: I joined Laguna United FC this year. Carrie Taylor is the Director of Coaching and with such a high quality coaching director as my boss, this was probably the best move I could have made. Having a female as the director is so inspiring for me; she’s a strong leader, assertive, hard worker and someone that I can look up to.
Diane Scavuzzo: What teams do you coach?
Nicole Farley: I am head coach to three Laguna United girls teams: U12, U15 and U19. I also coach at Dana Hills High School. I hope that as I work with all of my players, I can inspire them to be the best that they can be.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is your goal as a youth soccer coach for girls?
Nicole Farley: I instill in my players a sense of self-belief. As a role model in the female game, I encourage many to consider coaching in the near future.
I am certain that as media coverage of women’s soccer improves, this will help raise awareness of females in male dominated sports and provide a brighter future for all our young women.