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St Marys University hosts Women’s Football Conference to celebrate International Women’s Day

Group photo of the speakers from the Women's Football Conference

On Friday 4th March the FA Women's High Performance Football Centre (WHPFC) at St Marys University hosted ‘The Women’s Football Conference’ to celebrate International Women’s Day. 

Students and football coaches from the local area were invited to hear from some of our own members of staff who are researching to improve the landscape of Women’s sport. They were joined on the panel by some high-profile external guest presenters.

St Marys University welcomed Manisha Tailor, Assistant Head of Coaching at Queens Park Rangers FC, to the conference to present 'Learning Through Football'. Manisha is one of only a few women working in a coaching capacity in the male game.

Formerly a head teacher and current owner of ‘Swaggerliscious’,  Manisha is also the only person of South Asian heritage in this type of role. She is a huge advocate for opportunities for females in football as well as more diversity and mental health support.

Also on the panel and in attendance was former England International Footballer now coach, Gemma Davison, who presented 'Developing Skillful Players'. Gemma is one of the most decorated female players in the game, having won the quadruple with Arsenal. Having also played for clubs such as Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool, Gemma won the Champions League, 4  Women’s Super Leagues, 2 FA Cups and the League Cup. She now coaches for Arsenal as well as has her own coaching business, GD Elite.

Gemma and Manisha were joined by Dr Nicola Brown, who presented her research into ‘the importance of wearing the correct sports bra’ and Nic Evans, who presented her research into ‘the importance of female coaches in football and the female game’.

The event offered attendees an in-person opportunity to network and ask questions, and was also streamed online.

Jodie Whitford-Stark, Coach Development Officer for the FA Women’s High Performance Football Centre at St Marys University and organiser of the conference said, "it was a great opportunity to invite coaches to our campus and inspire, educate and engage in some peer-learning.

"The research that our institution is involved in is pioneering for women’s sport and it was great to help present this to people working in the sports industry. It was a thoroughly enjoyable and successful day."

It’s been a busy month for the FA Women’s High Performance Centre, as they also hosted the ‘College Cup’; which saw over 60 girls come on site to take part in a day of footballing activities; including: a football tournament, coaching workshop and football boot study.

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