Rochdale AFC Education coach Emma Flynn started her journey into coaching through completing the Dale in the Community Trust Education Department’s Level 3 BTEC Sport & Football scholarship.
The course, which has operated for the past few years, is an ESFA funded study programme improving students’ knowledge of sport, applying this to the practical elements of the programme to improve technical, tactical and physical ability - running in partnership with the League Football Education (LFE).
Upon completion of the course, learners can progress on to university or full-time employment. Emma was offered an apprenticeship coaching on the programme with Dale in the Community - following her completion of the course in September 2019.
The course is now offering open trials on November 15th, for boys and girls aged 16-18, and Emma is keen to encourage as many young people to come down as possible.
She said: “I started coming to Rochdale when I was in Year nine of St. Cuthbert’s High School. Ever since then I have been playing football.
“My friends were on the BTEC at the time and had told me about it. I applied and got onto the BTEC doing a two-year course at Rochdale AFC. I came out of it with a Distinction merit.
“I want to be the best female coach there is, because there isn’t a lot around and I aspire to be one of the best. The BTEC gave me a better outlook and from there I was offered the apprenticeship and am now doing a lot of different coaching styles.
“When I was at high school, sport and PE weren’t much involved in the courses – especially for women. With me playing in the Ladies open age team on a Wednesday at the Soccer Factory, you see the number of girls involved there is.
“Rochdale as a club are very involved towards the BTEC. They support us a lot, which helps, and it is now about raising and advertising it a lot to try get even more people involved. It is going up and they are very supportive, which is great for us.
“I am going to stay on my apprenticeship, which involves me going into different schools, doing the soccer schools, even working with the Silver Sixties on Wednesdays, as well as a range of different disabilities. It is a range of different things, which is an eye opener to work with different age groups.
“I want to work towards my next coaching badge, then keep working up the best level that I can achieve. Hopefully I can see how I can progress further from there.
“We are offering the trial, on November 15th, mainly to years 10s and 11s which is the higher age group, but then we have younger kids around the set-up. Educational Officer Shireen Bisping offers the information about the BTEC, advertised on the @RAFCEducation social handles, as well as around Rochdale Football Club and the Soccer Factory.
“I would encourage everyone to give it a go. When I was younger, I didn’t have a big interest in football but seeing the advertisements about Rochdale made me think, wait, maybe I can do it. It is about having that confidence in yourself and believing you can do it.
"I now have that determination to be the very best and coach at the highest level, and that came to me through the course.
"We want young girls to know they are as valued as boys when it comes to young football development. We are seeing a big progression amongst interest in young girls. We are getting more and more young girls coming down to our sessions, and the number of teams we are running expand year-on-year.
"It is nice to see more girls have that interest and are getting involved, and hopefully that trend continues over the coming years.”
Full details on the open trials are availabale HERE.