The Decline of Women Soccer Coaches

When Title IX passed in 1972, giving women the equal opportunity to play sports, more than 90 percent of women’s teams were coached by women.

As of 2017, according to Excelle Sports, only 43 percent of female teams have women coaches. For youth teams specifically, a 2015 survey conducted by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, notes only 27 percent of 6.5 million plus adults that coach youth teams up to age 14 are female.

I myself only remember one female coach in my 13 years of playing soccer, and that didn’t happen until my freshman year of high school.

One must wonder where are all the women (current or former) athletes that want to pass on their love for sports. All of those young girls who play soccer throughout their youth, on a club team and into college, not making it to the pros but still loving the game; where are they?

Unfortunately, while Title IX presented many new and exciting opportunities for female athletes, it pushed a lot of women coaches out of their roles. Programs between men and women were combined, with the male staff being put in charge, and the now increased salary of the role (thanks to the new ruling demanding equality) attracted a lot more male coaches.

And when one doesn’t see women coaches out there and making a name for themselves on the college or professional levels, it trickles down. Leaving the mom or general enthusiast feeling like they don’t have the right or opportunity to coach even their local youth rec league.

And those that do coach often get overlooked. There are many stories of female coaches being asked on the sideline by refs or parents, “where’s the coach?” How discouraging (and frustrating) is that?

The question:

What does this mean for young female athletes?

Young female athletes suffer from not having more women coaches to guide them. Being able to learn their sport from a fellow woman does wonders. There are differences in play play and physicality between the men’s and women’s game, and only a female who has played in that position will be able to accurately understand that.

Additionally, woman coaches have the potential to be great role models. And the lack of role models and someone that takes an interest in them is a huge reason girls are dropping out of sports.

A great coach makes a player feel comfortable and confident, and truly nurtures their talent and love for the game. Young female athletes are losing out on this experience.

How you can make a difference.

Volunteer and coach! Take your passion for soccer beyond watching matches from the couch or making your own sprints up and down the pitch. Lend your talent and knowledge to a new generation of girl athletes.

You don’t need to go straight to club or high school play with everyday practice and demanding hours. Something as simple as taking on a team from your town’s rec league can make a huge difference in the lives of a handful of young girls.

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