Successful communication and your own positive behaviours are the keys to keeping soccer mums and dads onside, says expert GORDON MacLELLAND MORE
How clubs can support their coaching mothers
‘CLUBS SHOULD BE SUPPORTIVE AND FLEXIBLE AS POSSIBLE’
“Prioritizing early scheduling in your club and program is a massive way to support female coaches that are pregnant, working to adopt or foster, and/or have children.
“There are several layers that go into organizing the time allotted for mom and child, both when they are together and separate. It helps working moms (and dads) to know when they will be expected at training, games, meetings, and more as early as possible.
“Then, when short notice changes occur, be as supportive and flexible as possible for her schedule and the needs of the child; do not hold it against her and make assumptions on her commitment level to the job.”
CANDICE FABRY – Associate head coach, KC Courage
‘WE MUST BE ALLOWED TO INTEGRATE OUR FAMILIES’
“Everyone wants to talk about their organization’s culture as being a ‘family’. For moms who coach, we need that to be a literal statement, as it truly takes a village.
“We must be allowed to integrate our families into our teams to foster an environment where we feel like we aren’t simply surviving in each facet of our lives, but that we can truly excel as both a mom and a coach.
“The only way that happens is with support from the administration. I have been fortunate over the course of my career to have that support, and now as a single mom, I feel completely supported at Mizzou to be able to chase excellence with my boys a part of the Mizzou family.”
STEFANIE KRAAY GOLAN – Head Coach, University of Missouri Women’s Soccer
‘PAIR MOMS WITH OTHER MOMS AS CO-COACHES’
“Club leaders need to facilitate environments that are empathetic to the needs of the young children of mom- coaches, thereby helping us to feel encouraged and empowered to stay involved with the game.
“Grassroots clubs pairing moms with other moms as co-head coaches can provide the built-in training coverage sometimes required due to unexpected child-related events – while simultaneously giving these coaches the full responsibility of a team – ensuring the connection to coaching stays strong.
“I love that my children grew up watching me on the sidelines, and to see their connection to the game now brings me tremendous joy.”
SKYE EDDY BRUCE – Founder, Soccer Parenting and USSF B coach
‘CREATING A PRO-FAMILY ENVIRONMENT IS VITAL’
“I’ve coached club, high school and college soccer as a mom of a young daughter. It’s a joy to have her around and show her young women who are good examples in sport and life.
“I’ve had negative experiences, too. I’ve seen people not get jobs because they were pregnant. I’ve been told I couldn’t take higher jobs than men because I have a family.
“I tell my co-workers, supervisors and my team that family comes first. So if my daughter is there, it’s not a shock. I also return that if one of my players needs support or a day away. Building that culture in our program is our priority.
“A pro-family environment is vital. Having moms as co- workers and supervisors would be even more important. This is a male-dominated field and I rarely see female athletic directors, directors of coaching, and so on. Having people in place makes for a more inclusive work space.”
JORDAN VENESS-IRSIK – Head Coach, College of Saint Mary