A cohort of Northern Ireland’s emerging leaders in women’s football have described a recent trip to UEFA Headquarters as “invaluable.”
Five participants of the Electric Ireland Elite Female Leadership Programme, a football-focused course developed in partnership with the Irish FA, were joined by course facilitators Reboot at Europe’s home of football in Nyon, Switzerland.
With a focus on increasing the number of female decision-makers in the women’s game, the trip also involved paying a visit to Swiss club Servette FC to learn first-hand how the Chenois women’s team have progressed since winning their first Super League title in 2021.
Colette Young, Club Secretary at the Northern Ireland Women’s Football Association (NIWFA), spoke to the value of experiencing the women’s game in Europe and how Servette’s club philosophy can be used as inspiration to drive female football forward on home soil.
“The trip to UEFA Headquarters and Servette FC was an invaluable experience. It was amazing to see what the Servette Chenois women’s team have achieved over the last six years, with their positive club philosophy and attitude,” she said.
“I would now like to give our NIWFA representatives a similar opportunity, to see how a semi-professional women’s team operates, in the hope of inspiring them. The trip has given me renewed motivation to continue to drive the game forward in Northern Ireland.”
Part of the Game Changers movement and developed in response to the Irish FA’s five-year strategy to grow the women’s game at all levels, the Electric Ireland Elite Female Leadership Programme is a dynamic seven-month course based on the latest neuroscience, positive psychology and peak performance research.
With a particular focus on developing future female leaders in football, the inaugural Elite Female Leadership Programme is delivered by global speakers and Reboot coaches Sinéad Sharkey-Steenson and Lisa Strutt and comprises mental fitness training, leadership masterclasses, and one-to-one coaching sessions to plot out a highly tailored pathway to senior leadership within football.
“Having the opportunity to go to UEFA was extremely beneficial in terms of networking,” added Elaine Junk, chair of the Irish FA’s Women’s Challenge Cup Committee.
“There were many positive learnings taken from the trip to Servette FC and to UEFA Headquarters where we were constantly surrounded by groups of people who all share similar interests, values and goals – we all want to develop Women’s Football both on and off the pitch.”
“UEFA were very interested in our Elite Leadership Programme and are keen to maintain contact to see how we can take the learnings from the course and the trip to positively influence all aspects of our female game in Northern Ireland.”
“I look forward to staying connected and working in collaboration with the staff at UEFA especially as we begin working on the new Women’s Football strategy for Northern Ireland.”