We recently had chance to catch up with the North West Regional FA Coach Development Officer (Diversity and Inclusion) Sarah Lowden and grassroots coach and previous FA Coach Mentor Chris Lloyd (TOP), who shared their stories in how they come to be involved in grassroots football, role models that inspired and supported them to get involved and what Black History Month means to them.
Sarah who is also the Women’s First Team Coach for a local club shared how she became involved grassroots football:
I contacted the county FA where I lived and asked them if there were any clubs in the area looking to have a volunteer coach (me) as I was intrigued to give it a go. I started my first session with Under 9 girls on a Friday night and have never looked back since. Best decision I made!
Chris who is currently coaching and supporting coach development at local grassroots club in Cheshire said:
As I was already a qualified coach, I got into grassroots football to start a team at U7's for my Son & his friends when they were 6 years old.
Both spoke about roles model who inspired and supported them, Sarah (right) said:
I’ve loved football all my life and found that there were very few female coaches around, particular female coaches for girls and women’s teams and I always wondered why that was the case. I remembered my experience as a young player and wanted to help inspire the next generation so that is what motivated me to get involved. On a local level Julie Chipchase was someone I truly admired as I was based in the north east as a young coach and Julie was one of very few female role models at the time. Hope Powell on a national level inspired me because of how powerful it was to see Hope leading our national women’s team. Both incredible pioneers of the game.
My first FA Tutor Graham Keeley was a big influence, along with the late Chris Walters at Crewe Alexandra, who I had the pleasure of coaching for in the Community on Saturdays for a number of years. Then, more recently, at the inception of my Sons team, Steve Smithies who at the time was FDO at Nantwich Town FC, believed in me, supported & assisted immensely (which he still does now).
Both Chris and Sarah talked about the importance of a diverse and inclusive workforce across the game, and we asked them both what Black History Month mean to them.
An opportunity to learn, understand & celebrate the huge impact diversity has had on this country (& the world) & its history, present & future
A time to pause and reflect, recognise and celebrate what has gone before us in order to inspire a positive future.
We thank both for taking the time to share their story and thoughts with Cheshire FA.
In her role with the FA, Sarah will be supporting Cheshire FA with the development of coaches through the delivery of local events/workshops (CPD), targeted support for Female and Black and Asian coaches as well as a variety of other opportunities to support all coaches.
Further details on Cheshire FA Coach Development Offer and events are available on our website here and promoted on our social media platform - @CCFACoaches