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Published 24 May 2024 5 min read
Coaching Football

The FA, UEFA and PFA host 17 current and former women’s game professionals for latest UEFA A Licence course

Written by:

FA Communications

The Football Association, in collaboration with UEFA and The PFA, today announces the first-ever all-female cohort for the UEFA A Licence course.
The cohort consists of 17 current and former players from the women's professional game, who are taking part in the 12-month programme, as The FA pledges a long-term commitment to providing high-quality development opportunities for Barclays WSL and Barclays Women’s Championship players to start their coaching careers. 
More females than ever are able to participate in this occurrence of the UEFA A Licence course, which has been tailored to fit around the playing schedules of professional players.  
As the highest practical coaching award available, the UEFA A Licence aims to develop technically and tactically proficient coaches capable of nurturing players to perform effectively in the modern game. Building on the content of the UEFA B Licence, this course extensively covers the principles of play in the 11v11 game, enhancing understanding of modern trends, strategies, and tactics, as well as the England DNA principles, all tailored to the unique characteristics of the women’s game. 
Representing clubs from across the country, the full group includes Karen Bardsley, Izzy Christiansen, Cheryl Edwards, Lisa Evans, Sophie Harris, Steph Houghton, Sophie Howard, Kim Little, Sandy MacIver, Aoife Mannion, Beth Mead, Vivianne Miedema, Zećira Mušović, Samantha Tierney, and Lia Wälti. This pioneering female cohort of A Licence coaches aims to inspire others within the professional women’s game to consider a career in coaching.
UEFA Pro Licence for women
The course, fully funded by The PFA, UEFA and The FA is part of a collective commitment to increasing female coaching opportunities. It began  this week with a two-day residential ‘camp’ at the home of English football, St. George’s Park, consisting of practical and classroom-based learning. On the pitch, a variety of FA and PFA tutors guided players through a live coaching session before allowing them to plan and execute sessions themselves. In the classroom, experts from The FA led sessions on sports psychology, self-awareness, and social toolkits.  
The opening days of the course offered the all-female cohort the chance to come together, share ideas and experiences and benefit from peer-to-peer support. As the course progresses, participants will have regular opportunities to regroup and engage in tailored professional development activities carefully designed by FA coaching education experts to meet their individual needs. These learnings combined with the unique perspective and expertise they hold as current or former elite players, will equip each participant with a versatile framework applicable to any coaching context.  
Zećira Mušović, Chelsea and Sweden goalkeeper said: “Taking the UEFA A Licence course is part of me becoming a leader. I want to develop every aspect of myself, become the best version of myself and the best possible leader I can be.”  
Scotland international, Lisa Evans, added: “My biggest motivation, pure and simple, is love of the game. I want to bring everything I have learnt as a player into being a coach or some other aspect of football. Having done my UEFA B Licence I was keen to progress to my A Licence, and the fact that this is available has been a huge incentive to do the course, so I’m forever grateful for that opportunity.”

The FA is committed to increasing employment opportunities for a diverse range of female coaches at the highest levels of the women’s game by providing targeted individual development opportunities to meet individual needs to accelerate their progress.  
Partnering with UEFA and their Coach Development Programme for Women is part of this wider goal, supporting elite female footballers through the process and offering financial support and scholarships to help them study for their coaching licence. This financial support makes coaching more accessible and affordable, enabling more female players to explore coaching opportunities after their playing careers. The FA also have a continued commitment to providing professional game grants for females to take their UEFA A Licences from 2024 onwards to ensure these opportunities are accessible and affordable.  
Mark Swales, Senior Women’s Coach Development Lead at The FA said: “The senior pro’s course is for current and former players to obtain their qualifications alongside coaching and playing. The players on this course have worked hard to obtain their qualifications whilst playing and are ready to step over the sideline as coaches to support the future generations of young female players. 
“It’s brilliant to see so many players on this course who have had respected playing careers who can give back so much to the next generation of players. I hope this inspires many more current and former pros to take one of our courses.”  
Lucy Pearson, Head of FA Education added: “We’re proud and excited to collaborate with UEFA and The PFA in our shared commitment to growing the number of female coaches in the women’s game, with this work a signal of our long-term pledge to provide uniquely tailored, affordable and accessible opportunities.   
"We’re delighted to be providing these 17 current and former professionals with this high-quality educational experience that we hope will help them on their coaching journey. We also hope their involvement will pave the way for many more players to consider a career in coaching. There’s a new generation of coaches with a huge amount of experience and expertise across the women’s professional game waiting to imprint their influence on the sport.” 

Louise Newstead, Head of PFA Coach Development, added: "We are delighted to support this groundbreaking all-female cohort as they embark on their UEFA A Licence journey. Many of these players have already been supported by the PFA through their UEFA B Licence, and having our Coach Development team involved in the A Licence provides that crucial continuity of learning. This seamless progression helps to create a supportive environment where they can continue to grow and further their development as coaches. It's an exciting step forward for the women's game and a testament to the collective progress being made in creating pathways for the next generation of coaches and managers."