A number of up-and-coming female coaches have taken their next steps in coaching with the completion of two bespoke female-only offerings - the UEFA C Licence (Youth / Adult Pathway) and the UEFA C Licence (Children's Pathway).

Following the success of the last year's female-only UEFA C Licence, the Scottish FA Coach Education Department decided to roll out two targeted courses in 2023.

After 14 coaches finished the course last year, there were a further 32 successful candidates across the two awards on this occasion.

The completion of these courses gives the successful students a UEFA accredited award and allow them to progress onto the UEFA B-Licence in the Youth/Adult Pathway, or the Advanced Children’s Licence in the Children’s Pathway.

Through funding received from the UEFA Coach Development Programme for Women, candidates were offered the chance to complete the course at a vastly discounted rate. 

Both courses were comprised of two online phases, made up of subjects including psychology and physical preparation, before a final phase of in-person coaching which took place on the pitch at Toryglen. 

Scotland Head Coach Pedro Martinez Losa also stopped by during the practical sessions at Toryglen to offer his support to the aspiring coaches.

A diverse cohort included coaches working in both the men's and women's games, while there were also current international and domestic players involved, including Canada international Sarah Stratigakis.

Martyn Buckie, Grassroots Coach Education & Development Manager, Scottish FA: "We ran this course last year - thanks to funding from UEFA. We decided to build on the success of this and double things up with two offerings this time around, allowing us to cater for female coaches working within the children’s, youth and adult game.

"I want to offer my congratulations to all the successful candidates for their effort and enthusiasm over the past few months. There were several coaches who have really excelled  and I'm sure some will now go forward and step onto the UEFA B Licence and Advanced Children’s Licence as well."

Scotland Women's A Head Coach, Pedro Martinez Losa: "This is part of our strategy to develop female coaches and we want to give them the opportunity. It's part of the motivation for coaches - we want to give them that dream of becoming a coach at the top level. 

"We want to provide that pathway to them and that is why I am here to support them. Hopefully some of them can play their part in inspiring girls. Players are always a product of the coaches and it's positive that we have these courses.

"I think we are playing our part at the Scottish FA to provide these opportunities. As a national team coach I am very open to having as many female coaches on board as possible. That's what we want - to help them to develop the standards.

"As a national team, we have the highest standards but we work together with the clubs and the coaches at all levels. We need to feel like we are part of the same project, same plan - it's the cycle of developing top athletes but we also want to increase participation and we want to inspire everyone in the women's game to become better and better."

Stephanie Knight, UEFA C-Licence candidate and Technical Director, Calgary Rangers: "I came in from Calgary to do the practical part of the female-only UEFA C Licence and I found it excellent.

"I knew that the tutoring and the coach education here in Scotland is fantastic so I wanted to come over to develop myself and improve myself as a coach."

Sarah Stratigakis, Canada International and UEFA C-Licence candidate: "I grew up in Canada and played soccer there for many years. I went to school at the University of Michigan and I played there for five years and now I play professionally in Sweden. I found out about this award from my teammate, she had a lot of high regards for the programme.

"I've always wanted to become a coach after I finish playing and I thought this would be a great way to start. I skipped a few of the courses because I play professionally so that was a really nice add-on - especially because I'm playing and I don't always have time to come to these things. 

"I find the female-only part of it makes it more comfortable for players like me and I want to help players that are in my position. I would love to become a coach and become a mentor one day."

Holly Canning, UEFA C-Licence candidate: "It's nice having that mix because everyone has different perspectives. We were working alongside international players and players playing in SWPL1, so it was nice to meet with them, talk to them and see their views and perspectives on coaching.

"I think it's all about helping more women feel confident enough to participate and we want more women in the coaching aspect of the game. Having the female-only option does offer something to those who are perhaps not as confident in a mixed environment."