We interviewed Illawarra Stingray’s Womens Reserve Grade Head Coach, Elyse Finlayson, and asked about her experiences in football. Her answers during our conversation are paraphrased in the article below.
Where does your passion for the sport come from?
Elyse’s introduction to football came at the age of 5. She wasn’t your typical ‘girly’ girl, and has her brother to thank for her tomboy personality.
Joining a team sport like football, she thrived in that environment from a very young age.
She loves the sense of community in the sport, the comradery of a team, and the learning environment that is achieved on a week to week basis.
What made you want to get involved in coaching?
Elyse was playing for South Coast Taipans in the futsal league at the age of 16 when the Women’s Head Coach asked her if she wanted to step in and assist.
” I jumped at the opportunity with open arms. I love teaching and educating in general.”
Can you share your journey of how you got into coaching?
She became a Head Coach of the U13s a year after being asked to assist the Womens Head Coach at Taipans. At the same time she was still playing outdoor football at a rep level, with the dream of becoming a professional football player.
Her 1st outdoor coaching role came at the age of 19 with the Illawarra Stingrays where she coached the U13s; and that’s when the journey really started to take off.
The following year SAP was introduced for girls football at the rep levels. She coached the U11s, and then the U15s the year after. During this, she was also helping out her cousin’s U6s teams at a local community club.
Recently, she had a stint with the girls U17s at Macarthur Rams and her current role is the Stingrays FNSW NPL Womens Reserve Grade Coach.
Being a Goalkeeper by trade, Elyse has also helped with Goalkeeper coaching here and there passing, on her knowledge from her years in representative level football.
Do you have any challenge/s that come to mind when you have been coaching?
“The biggest challenge has been the criticism received that’s inevitable. This challenges your self belief, your ability and your football philosophy. Having a strong character is very important.”
The support system for female coaches was non-existent when Elyse started out as a young coach. She had to persevere and believe in her own ability, which has been her biggest strength.
“I had a lot of older coaches, who gave me tough love. I took it within my stride and just got on with it!”
She took her experiences as a player and from her own coaches into her own style of coaching.
Elyse has found that, with developments coming from Football NSW and other governing bodies, there is a growing network of female coaches forming in communities. The FNSW Female Coaches Network is a very inclusive and collaborative environment; it’s not about where you coach, but about collaborating with others, sharing experiences and giving everyone a chance to better themselves as a coach, and better the game in general.
Over the years, Elyse has had some amazing influences in her journey. They include Vannessa Mann (now coaching in the USA), Stephen Neligan (who is now in Denmark), Lisa Warrener and most recently Carmelina Moscato who came over from Canada to coach at Stingrays.
If you could speak to female coaches or those aspiring to be a coach what would be your one liner (punch line)?
Coaching will allow you to grow and develop personally more than anything you will ever do in your life and it allows you to express your love for the game in the best way possible.
For more information about how you can be involved in coaching or coach education, contact the MFA Community Football Manager at Kevin@macarthurfootball.com.au