Get Into Football
Study trip for national coaches
FA group attend study visit in Germany on Elite Women's football.
A group of ten representatives from The FA were invited to attend a three day study visit to Germany earlier this month to learn more about their elite women’s football programmes.
The visit was part of an international study scheme which was introduced and organised by UEFA to give European National Associations the opportunity to share their ideas and thoughts on a variety of topics including women’s football, coach education, grassroots coaching and elite football.
Alongside The FA delegates were representatives from the Netherlands and Spain and all countries took part in a very busy schedule to get an in-depth understanding of different elements of the very successful German elite female player pathway.
The group representing The FA were Rachel Pavlou (National Development Manager), Hope Powell (National Head Coach), Brent Hills (National U23s Head Coach), Mo Marley (National U19s Head Coach), Lois Fidler (National U17s Head Coach), Kay Cossington (National U15s Head Coach), Keith Rees (National GK Coach), Sarah Lawler (Regional Youth Coach), Angela Murphy (Regional Youth Coach) and Matthew Johnson (Regional Youth Coach)
The visit was hosted at the Sportschule Kaiserau in the Westfalen region, one of ten DFB Elite Football Schools in the country with top class facilities and staff to develop elite footballers within their chosen sport linked with high quality education.
The visit involved a total of eleven sessions across the three days as well as a fantastic opening activity - the chance to watch top flight women’s football in Germany - Bayer Leverkussen v Essen-Schonebeck in the women’s Bundesliga showcased some of the county’s talented young international players. All delegates had the opportunity to attend a post match interview with both of the managers and ask questions. The common theme of both clubs was that they had a philosophy of developing local players for their elite women’s club.
The opening study session gave each participating country the chance to deliver a presentation on women’s football. Rachel Pavlou and Hope Powell shared The FAs structure, successes and future challenges within women’s football in England. All three county’s presentations demonstrated how vibrant women’s football is across Europe.
Early on in the visit the delegation were introduced to DFB staff, Tina Theune (most successful German National Manager within football) and Renate Lingor (former German International player and World Cup Ambassador) who both presented a variety of information throughout the visit. Tina provided an insight into current trends in the modern game with a detailed analysis of the final four teams in the Women’s World Cup. The DFB had carried out some excellent game analysis on the World Cup and highlighted the strengths, weaknesses and current trends which would then formulate new training methods and concepts. These methods were demonstrated in practical sessions later in the week by Katherine Peter, Head Coach at the Westfalen Elite School.
Katherine and Tina Theune explained the DFB Talent structure that has been responsible for producing some the world’s greatest players. What was apparent is that the DFB have extremely strong partnerships and have a successful model based on hard work and innovative ideas. An example of this is how the Elite schools work with both government and local clubs so players get more practice time and can be educated in a football environment to meet their potential. There was also a strong partnership with grassroots clubs and the DFB to identify and support talented players aged U11-U19 with coordinated training and competition for these players.
During the trip, the delegates observed some practical examples of this talent pathway in action at the younger age groups, by watching the U13 Westfalen Elite girls train. Katherine Peter led this practical session and their focus on offensive and defensive one v ones. The players showed high levels of technical ability, competiveness, professionalism and a work rate that was exciting to watch.
Bjoern Lerbs (Westfalen Assistant coach) delivered a lecture on the structure of the Football Elite Schools in Germany for the most talented of female footballers. Bjoern went through the advantages to those players attending one of the ten Football Elite Schools, and also the aspirations to increase this number to fifteen for 2012-13 season. There are currently 75 National team players in Elite schools and they would like this to increase to over one hundred with the introduction of five more facilities.
This lecture was followed with the opportunity to watch the girls at the Elite school in Kaiserau train. All the girls were in either the U17 or U19 National side and this helped the delegates to really get a sense of the progress and development of the girls through the talent pathway.
The final theory session was delivered by David Noemi who reviewed the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany, how it was promoted and what strategies were used to increase the image and the interest in the women’s game to take it from a local to a global level.
David’s knowledge and experience of being involved in International Football Tournaments over the last ten years was excellent and it was clear to see the work that the event organising committee had done enabled Germany to host Europe’s most successful women’s football event. As evidence of the events’ success, the DFB showed how the FIFA Women’s World Cup inspired a growth of 10,000 registered female participants in the 2010-11 season. The event also broke European stadium attendance records for a women’s game, boasted a record 17.1m viewers for a single game, as well as creating a massive financial profit of 7.6 million euros to go back into developing the female game in Germany.
Hope Powell said of the visit: “The German FA provided us with a detailed and well organised programme that was very informative. We are grateful for their openness to share good practice with us and their fantastic hospitality.”
FA Delegate, Angela Murphy added: “The trip was very informative, interesting and inspiring – a great opportunity all round”.