Wanted: More Moms To Coach
It shouldn’t be so hard to get more moms on the coaching roster…
By Sue Pierce
As a kid, Mary Matthews only played soccer for a few years. But when her daughter’s soccer team needed a coach, Matthews stepped up. “I just absolutely fell in love with it,” she says. That was a decade ago. She’s since started Omaha Street Soccer, a nonprofit that brings soccer to kids in North Omaha.
Matthews’ story is unique, not because she took an extra leap in founding OSS, but because she is a woman. Youth sport – and all other levels of sport – is disproportionally coached by men, despite the growing number of female participants. “Participation has gone up, but women coaches have gone down,” says Dr. Nicol LaVoi, director of The Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport.
If more girls than ever are playing sports, does it matter who’s coaching?
It really does, says LaVoi. And it transcends sports. “Seeing women as coaches helps counter outdated gender stereotypes about women in leadership,” she says.
Betsy Jacketti, recreational director of Mandeville Soccer Club in Louisiana, agrees. “It’s very valuable for the girl youth player to have female role models,” she says—women who coach model leadership roles for girls and provide valuable insight from a female perspective. The list of benefits goes on.
So how do we increase the number of women in coaching roles? LaVoi, Jacketti, and Matthews shared some ideas on where to start.