The development of female football coaches in South Australia is being strengthened with the SANFL’s introduction of a Community Female Coaching Academy in 2024.
Following the success of the Female Coaching Academy in place for SANFL clubs since 2018, the concept will now extend to South Australian football’s grassroots.
North Gambier’s Fiona Young is one of 10 female community coaches from across the state selected to participate in the new academy, which will run through to the end of October this year.
SANFL State Coaching Manager Dave Reynolds said the initial SANFL Female Coaching Academy supported SANFL clubs to create a Women’s coaching recruitment pathway for SANFLW players to learn the craft of coaching in the youth girls’ programs.
“Six years ago, in the academy’s first year, there were only eight women in coaching roles across all eight SANFL clubs,” he said.
“In 2023 that grew to 80 at SANFL clubs and we now hope to have in excess of 300 female coaches registered across the State in 2024.”
AFLW experienced pair Emma Sampson and Courtney Cramey will provide one-on-one mentoring to the community coaches, who will be tasked with completing the AFL’s Level 2 Coaching Accreditation together with forming a personal coaching development plan for 2024.
Fellow Academy members will have the opportunity to connect with each other throughout the season while all inductees also will have the opportunity to learn from a SANFLW or AFLW game day and training experience.
Sampson, who previously played with North Adelaide in the SANFLW, is one of SA’s great success stories having begun her coaching journey with the Roosters through SANFL’s original Female Coaching Academy before progressing to a role as an Adelaide AFLW assistant for the past three seasons.
“It’s really important that developing female coaches are being mentored by other women as coaching role models,” Reynolds said.
“Both Emma and Courtney are exceptional coaches with a sharp focus on development. Emma has completed the cycle from an academy member to now developing the next group of Women’s coaches in this academy while also mentoring the SA U16 girls’ coaches.
“Courtney is extremely passionate about developing female coaches and has great experience mentoring female coaches through the Crows’ academies.”
Together with Sampson, past graduates from SANFL’s Female Coaching Academy have included senior SANFLW mentors Krissie Steen (North Adelaide and South Adelaide) and Lexi Edwards (Glenelg), as well as SA U16 Girls coach Bek McMahon.
Reynolds said the 10 successful applicants for the Community Female Coaching Academy were selected on a range of criteria, including previous coaching experience and a desire to develop their coaching careers.
The first Academy session was held in Adelaide on Tuesday.