#ThanksCoach 2024…

#ThanksCoach 2024…

CAN YOU BECOME A COACH with zero “footballing skills” in sports such as football?

And, what is it like for a South Asian woman to take the plunge into coaching football? 

The answer is yes, and Varsha from Women in Sport explains how she took the plunge into her role as a coach…

In football, there aren’t just one or two coaches who have never played football, there are, in fact, at least ten or more who have taken into football coaching and here from this website is just one or two examples of high-profile managers who have become successful in their field.

  1. AVRAM GRANT is famous for a short tenure at Chelsea.

“At 18 years old, the Israeli began his professional career in coaching and is one of the football managers who started early.

He successfully led Hapoel Petah Tikva to two Toto Cup victories in 1990 and 1991, making the club top Israeli football for the first time in almost 25 years.

He is most famous for handling Chelsea FC during the 2007-2008 season following the unexpected departure of coach Jose Mourinho, though he was not a popular choice among fans.

Grant lead Chelsea to a second-place victory in the English Premier League against Manchester United. Again, but with an impressive game, Avram led Chelsea to the UEFA Champions League final, where they once more lost to Manchester United.



While working under Robson at Porto as a teenager, Villa-Boas honed his potential as a coach.

He served as assistant to Jose Mourinho before becoming manager of Liga side Academica at 32.

The Portuguese tactician moved to Chelsea and won the League and Cup double and the Europa League.

Villa-Boas joined Tottenham Hotspur in 2012, and on December 16, 2013, the club announced that he had left “by mutual consent.”

As of the time of his retirement, he had the highest percentage of league wins of all the managers in the club’s Premier League history.

Villas-Boas coached Zenit St Petersburg for two seasons before moving on to the Chinese club Shanghai SIPG.



Women in Sport’s Varsha Patel, Communications and Campaigns Manager at Women in Sport pens a short profile of how she became a coach in women’s football, despite her very busy schedule of having family, and all the other things that go on in life. 

She started off by writing this:

“Growing up in the ‘80s as a young brown girl wasn’t easy. I loved sport and was hugely competitive, but due to cultural norms, it wasn’t something that me or my south Asian friends were encouraged to try.”

Now and then, I got to go and watch my brothers play football, with my dad on the side-lines, which I used to absolutely love. My mum never came as she was too busy with the chores (likely because dinner had to be ready by a certain time, now I think about it) and it appeared that she had no interest in standing on the sidelines. It was unheard of to see a woman in a saree pitchside, they’d be found in the kitchen mustering up some divine meals whilst the dads supported their sons. Mum did love watching football on the TV though, as did I.

Whilst I continued with my education, and got married as was expected, sport became a distant memory for me, deeply rooted in the subconscious and nowhere to be found.”

She makes the point in the article that with the right support, she took the plunge and agreed to a role in coaching her young daughter at football.

“The journey began for me when my daughter was desperate to play matches but had no team to play with. Mums and dads were asked to coach, but there was sadly very little interest. Seeing my daughter and her little friends being denied the opportunity to play at the mere age of 7 because no one had time or felt they didn’t have the expertise broke my heart, and just like that I found myself stepping up and it was the best thing I ever did!”

Under the support of Head Coach Mark Gordon, she thrived in the role.

She added: “Thanks to the Women in Football bursary programme, I went on to progress my UEFA C license. This really helped build my knowledge in coaching, but left me with serious imposter syndrome, attending in-person modules with a room full of men, facilitated by white male coaching developers. Being a woman was scary enough, but being south Asian on top of that, I really felt like I didn’t belong in this space.”


UK COACHING WEEK has just ended recently, and that was a time for the public involved in community sport to provide thanks to the people, volunteers, coaches, and others who have provided help and support to help grow community sport at grassroots level. Although UK Coaching Week has ended, you can still say #ThanksCoach in your hashtags on social media.

A variety of messages were provided on the #ThanksCoach hashtag throughout the week.

This year’s celebration, UK Coaching encouraged even more coaches to take a holistic approach to their coaching, treating everyone as individuals with unique needs, strengths, and motivations. Holistic coaching goes beyond sporting experience, including building life skills and shaping individuals into well-rounded, confident, and resilient people, both in and out of sport.

90% of those who receive coaching say they have confidence and trust in their coach. All participants who take part in sport and physical activity appreciate how valuable coaches are to their own personal development and in supporting the nation to be active.

UK Coaching Week returns next year in June. 

FOR MORE STORIES from Women in Sport, GO HERE…




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Chris Gaynor

Chris Gaynor is a writer with 10 years' experience writing for the web. He loves snooker, CSI and loves cycling off tiramisu!