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As part of Female Football Week, we would like to highlight two local women’s ambassadors; Deborah Loveday (Helensburgh) and Linda Hillard (Albion Park). Both ladies have been involved in football for several years and they both share a passion for the game so much so that they both are now coaching.
Deborah Loveday is the current Secretary at Helensburgh Thistle Junior Football Club and is also the club’s female coordinator. Deborah still finds the time to have a kick as she is running around in the Women’s Division 5 team with Helensburgh after having your first taste at football when she was just 8 years old.
Deborah now finds great satisfaction in coaching and developing other junior female players where she takes the reins of the 16 Girls Helensburgh team.
“I love coaching more than playing these days and I am truly excited that female players these days are starting at such a young age and are getting better coaching than ever before”.
There has been a slight downturn of female players at Helensburgh this year, but Deborah and her committee are doing their utmost to try and turn that around for the club. They have four junior girls’ teams and two ladies’ teams.
“Female Football Week is a great opportunity to show the girls that as players they are truly valued”.
Not every club has people like Loveday at their club and she optimizes a true role model for young female players and let’s hope that she can inspire many others to continue playing, take up coaching and give back to the game like she has.
At the other end of the South Coast, we also found another lady not too dissimilar to Loveday who shares a passion of playing with her coaching. Linda Hillard is a member of the all-conquering Albion Park Women’s team who has had a dominant record over the last decade, and she highlights the importance of coaching to help develop players. Hillard was grateful for the coaching she has received from Richard “Macca” Davis and formerly from ex-Premier League star Brian Brown.
Like Loveday, Hillard coaches a female team (14 Girls Division 2) at Albion Park and she has had them for several years.
“I find coaching so rewarding and I am thoroughly enjoying it but as far as playing goes, I am going to see out the year and see how it goes after that”.
Hillard was full of praise for most of the other teams in the Women’s Division 1 this year as the competition seems to have started to level out a bit with other teams all recruiting and developing more female players which is going to make winning another title with Albion Park so much more difficult.
“I love the concept of Female Football Week as this serves to acknowledge and encourage females involves in the sport”.
From an FSC perspective, it is great to see the growth in female coaches in the sport and we hope that the likes of Loveday and Hillard can inspire the youth females into prolonging their careers and who knows, perhaps there is another future Matilda in amongst our juniors somewhere.