Kat Smith accepted into second edition of FIFA Coach Mentorship Programme

CommBank Junior Matildas Assistant Coach and Analyst and newly appointed Western Sydney Wanderers Head Coach, Kat Smith, is one of 20 female coaches to be accepted into the second edition of the FIFA Coach Mentorship Programme.

Launched yesterday, the program will see 20 female coaches from across the globe mentored by some of the leading figures in coaching, including Australians Tom Sermanni and Joe Montemurro.

Smith, who has been paired with Athletic Bilbao Women’s head coach, Iraia Iturregi, is thrilled to be presented with further opportunities to continue her development in her chosen profession.

“I am incredibly honoured and grateful to have this opportunity and am appreciative of the support of Football Australia, who championed my application to be a part of the programme,” said Smith.

“It pays homage to those that have backed me in the past and opportunities I’ve had because of their belief. I am extremely excited about the possibility of continuing my coaching journey and fortunate to expand my expertise and experiences through accessing a global network.

CommBank Junior Matildas Assistant Coach and Analyst, Kat Smith in camp. (Photo: Ann Odong / Football Australia)
CommBank Junior Matildas Assistant Coach and Analyst, Kat Smith in camp. (Photo: Ann Odong / Football Australia)

An AFC Pro-Licenced coach, Smith’s involvement in the game spans 20 years, with the now Western Sydney Wanderers head coach having been involved at all levels of women’s football.

Her football career has seen her hold positions as a Skills Acquisition Trainer, National Premier Leagues Technical Director (Green Gully FC), a Team Manager, NPL Head Coach (Galaxy United and Alamein FC), Liberty A-League Women’s Assistant Coach (Melbourne Victory), Australian Opposition Analyst for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and CommBank Junior Matildas Assistant Coach and Performance Analyst.

With extensive experience already in varied positions, Smith is hoping that the Programme adds to her understanding of her profession for the betterment of the players she coaches.

“This opportunity, I’m hoping, brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from across the globe to open my mind to new ways of doing and thinking in the game. With the high calibre of Mentors, it will provide challenges that lead to growth and harness courage.”

“I want to explore how that knowledge can be brought back to platforms and programs here in Australia that help shape further growth initiatives in our game and allow us to better equip the next generation of athletes for the world stage.

“On a personal level, this Programme allows for that individual and professional development to happen on the job, and that’s what you want. With this set-up, you can apply new learnings and new skills and continue to develop your craft so you are having the most positive impact you can on the game.”

Commencing in 2018, the FIFA Coach Mentorship Programme aims to develop and empower a new generation of female coaches. The Programme participants are paired with a top coach in women’s football for a period of 18 months.

Through their paired Mentors, Mentees are provided with coaching guidance, support for career development, and access to a global network of female coaches.

FIFA’s Chief Women’s Football Officer, Sarai Bareman, expressed her pride in the life-changing nature of the Programme.

“First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you for taking up the opportunity to be part of this programme. It is one of my favourites that we offer, quite simply because it is a life-changing programme,” Bareman said in her introductory speech.

“This programme is really about creating a network and a pathway for female coaches. Combined with our Coach Education Scholarship Programme, we know that creating pathways for female coaches is absolutely crucial to achieving our strategic objectives.”

CommBank Junior Matildas head coach Rae Dower in camp. (Photo: Ann Odong / Football Australia)
CommBank Junior Matildas head coach Rae Dower in camp. (Photo: Ann Odong / Football Australia)

Former Matilda and CommBank Junior Matildas head coach Rae Dower was a participant in the first edition of the Programme in 2018. Dower, who has been involved with the women’s game for over 40 years, credits it with providing her with access to an unparalleled professional network and access to new opportunities.

“The FIFA Coach Mentor Program was an inspirational experience,” Dower said. “The group of coaches, mentees, and mentors, were incredible and the amount of collective knowledge, wisdom and experience that was so willingly shared showed what is possible when like-minded people come together with passion and a willingness to grow the women’s game and to help each other to be the best they can be.”

“Personally, I gained some wonderful friendships and achieved personal growth and insights through the 18 months of the course. I have a great rapport and friendship with my own mentor, and we have continued to keep in touch for the last 2 years.

“I was able to build my professional football network and FIFA valued my contribution very highly, inviting me to be a mentor within the Coach Education Scholarships which I am thoroughly enjoying.

“I also gained a great sense of validation about my own experience and qualities as a coach and leader, affirming what I have to offer which has re-ignited the spark in me to keep striving for more.”

List of formed pairs of Mentors and Mentees

Mentor

Mentee

Vlatko Andonovski (MKD)

USA WNT Coach

Katerina Mileska

U17 WNT Coach (MKD)

Epifania Benitez (PAR)

Paraguay U17 WNT Coach

Ana Laura Galindo Domínguez

U17 WNT Coach (MEX)

Kay Cossington (ENG)

Head of Women’s Technical – The FA

Caroline Sjöblom

U19 WNT Coach (SWE)

Corinne Diacre (FRA)

France WNT Coach

Simone Jatobá

U17 WNT Coach (BRA)

Desiree Ellis (RSA)

South Africa WNT Coach

Maggie Chombo

U20 WNT Coach (MWI)

Iraia Iturregi (ESP)

Athletic Bilbao Women’s Head Coach

Kat Smith

Western Sydney Wanderers FC Head Coach

Pedro Martinez Losa (ESP)

Scotland WNT Coach

Sonia Haziraj

WNT (Several)

Joe Montemurro (AUS)

Juventus Women’s Head Coach

Debbi McCulloch

Spartans FC Women Coach (SCO)

Francisco Neto (POR)

Portugal WNT Coach

Amelia Valverde Villalobos

WNT Coach (CRI)

Nils Nielsen (DEN)

Switzerland WNT Coach

Lidija Stojkanovic

U19 WNT Coach (SER)

Even Pellerud (NOR)

Former Norway WNT Coach

Shilene Booysen

WNT Coach (SSD)

Bev Priestman (ENG)

Canada WNT Coach

Katarzyna Maria Barlewicz

U19 WNT Coach (POL)

Tom Sermanni (SCO)

Former NZ, USA & AUS WNT Coach

Pamela Conti

WNT Coach (VEN)

Ives Serneels (BEL)

Belgium WNT Coach

Natalie Lawrence

WNT & U20 Assistant Coach (NZL)

Anna Signeul (SWE)

Finland WNT Coach

Stefania Maggiolini Fort

U17 WNT Techn. Assistant (URU)

Pia Sundhage (SWE)

Brazil WNT Coach

Tracey Kevins

U20 WNT Coach (USA)

Tina Theune (GER)

Former Germany WNT Coach

Kathrin Peter

U20 WNT Coach (GER)

Monica Vergara (MEX)

Mexico WNT Coach

Laura del Río Garcia

U23 WNT Coach (ESP)

Jorge Vilda (ESP)

Spain WNT Coach

Elna Dixon

WNT Coach (NIC)

Chan Yuen Ting (HKG)

Jiangsu LFC Head Coach

Manar Mustafa

U17 WNT Coach (JOR)

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