Nicola has been nominated as this month's 'Seren y Mis' due to her mentoring so many female coaches, her passion as a mentor and her support of those on their coaching journey, many of which are within the Orchard Welsh Premier Women's League.
O: So, Nicola, how did you get into football?
N: I have always loved football since I was a kid. It was a popular sport in our house, and it was something I played all the time, but girls' football was non-existent at the time, so all my opportunities were with boys which I enjoyed as it helped me to improve. My dad was a football coach at Everton FC for many years, and during that time I got injured whilst playing, so at the age of 15 I started taking my coaching badges as well as coaching regularly and I never looked back!
O: Who inspires you?
N: My mum has always been my biggest inspiration. She was always pushing me to do what I loved and always ensuring I knew I could do and be what I wanted if I worked hard enough. Her support for me has always been above and beyond. She is the role model for me in everything she did and that still drives me to this day. Another inspiration for me is the players and coaches I have worked with and brought through over the years. They provide me with the motivation to want to do better and provide more opportunities for them, so I feel very inspired when they reach their achievements through the hard work they've put in.
O: Why do you think it’s important to mentor and inspire those on their coaching journey?
N: I think everyone needs help and support at one time or another in whatever they do, so to be able to do that for so many coaches over the years is something I find very humbling as a job, but it never really feels like work. Coaches must have someone who can guide them and shape them into what they want to be, not what others want them to be, as being who you are and coaching the way you want is vital for the development of players and helps you enjoy coaching that much more. Mentoring a coach and supporting them to reach goals (sometimes) they never thought they could, is one of the reasons why I do the job and if being that support for them gets them there, then I know we are doing something right.
O: Do you think more women need to get into coaching?
N: I think any woman who wants to be a coach or get involved in coaching should do. It is something that has brought me some incredible experiences over the years, and I would want that for any woman out there who wants to do the same. The opportunities are out there now, so much more so than when I started and that is something I take great pride in being a small part of providing. The barriers are down and there is a lot of support out there for women who want to be involved in coaching- you just need to take the first step.
O: What’s your best memory with FAW?
N: That is a tough one really as I have so many but certainly from a Coach Education & Mentoring point of view it has to be when we ran the first-ever female-only B Licence Residential Course here in Wales in 2018. It was something that seemed so far away for so long but is by far one of the best things I have ever done. Seeing what that course did for so many female coaches who have gone on to do fantastic things is something I will be forever proud of and it has gone from strength to strength ever since.
O: What does the future hold for you?
N: Again, another tough question really as I am currently going through my UEFA Pro Licence course which is something I never ever thought I would do so that itself is the priority right now and from there, who knows! The exciting part is that there are opportunities out there now to aspire to be in and that makes for an exciting future for myself as a female coach and for all those who are coming right up behind me!
O: What is your hope for the future for Women's football?
N: My hope is that it continues to grow in all aspects, from the grassroots all the way through to the elite as it is something so many people have worked hard to get it to where it is and continue to work hard to keep making big steps forward for the future.
Congratulations Nic on being the WPWL 'Seren Y Mis'!
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