As part of its Legacy '23 plan, developed to ensure that the benefits of the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup extend past the event, Football Australia has highlighted Leadership and Development as one it's important pillars.  

Increasing the recruitment, development and retention of women at all levels of the game is an important part of this pillar.  It is for this reason that they have lounged the High Performance Coaching initiative.

Despite increased participation of women and girls in football in recent decades, equivalent increases in women coaching have remained stagnant.  The barriers to coaching for women are well documented.  

This initiative hopes to take an evidence-based approach to increase female participation on the sidelines.  Engaging women, particularly in high performance coaching, is deemed vital by national technical director Trevor Morgan.

“We are concerned by the low percentage of women coaching in football and, in particular, in high-performance arenas.  

"We need to take action to rectify this so that aspiring women in football have both support and opportunity to develop themselves and their careers to the highest levels.

"It is imperative that football capitalises on the knowledge, skills and fresh perspective women in coaching can provide across our whole football ecosystem.”

To do so they will take a three phase approach targeting:

  • Coaches in high performance football
  • Coaches with the potential to work in high performance football
  • Players wanting to transition to coaching.

The initiative will be lead by a number of individuals including Rae Dower, Football Australia's Women's Technical Advisor and Head Coach Women's U17 and Darlene Harrisson, a performance and leadership expert. 

The first phase of the initiative will have 150 women coaches from all levels taking part in a comprehensive study to understand the female coaching landscape.  This will be followed by a pilot program based on the study in Phase 2 and 3 of the initiative.  

Opening up avenues and increasing women's participation in a sustainable way off the field is the ultimate goal. This will not be a small task.  For Football Australia to meet its target of a 50/50 gender split in participation, they will need nearly 30,000 new coaches and women in football.