BURTON Albion Academy Age Group Coach Sarah Lowden started working with the Brewers in 2017.
She has combined her Academy role with working for the Football Association and, on International Women’s Day, she has spoken about her roles with the Brewers and the FA, as well as how she has found being a female coach in a male Academy.
Sarah has been coaching for eight years, although this is her first role in a boys Academy. She admits that there have been some that have been surprised to see her coaching the young Brewers, but she says that she has not been treated any differently by Burton Albion’s youngsters.
She said: “Kids are kids and football is football. It is more when you go away and there are parents and maybe some of the boys looking at you and thinking ‘wow, I have never really seen a female coach before’. I don’t think that it has had any impact on the relationship that I have with the players, they still see me as a coach.
“It is more people outside of the club, because it is unusual. You do get looks from parents who are not used to seeing a female coach. Sometimes they will even think you are the physio and not a coach.
“It is refreshing. It is good to be diverse. It has not impacted anything negatively, in fact, I have probably enjoyed working here more!”
Sarah’s said of her roles with the Academy and the FA:
“At the moment, I am an Elite Coach Mentee. It is a year-long programme with the FA, we get exposed to working within the grassroots and professional game. We also go on national camps, so I am working with the women’s teams.
“The idea is that it gives you an insight into the elite game of football and equip you for a full-time role. I have been coaching for eight years now and have worked with boys and girls at all ages.
“My role with the FA is generally based around St. George’s Park. Before I started with Burton, I was working with Sunderland Regional Talent Club with the under 16s girls. I just wanted to get involved with something more local and I saw Burton Albion as an opportunity, I had never worked in a boys’ Academy before, but it was something that I definitely wanted to do and I have loved every minute so far.”
Academy Head of Coaching Hannah Dingley said: “Our job as an Academy is to develop players for the first team and to do that we need good quality coaches. Sarah is an excellent coach and adds massively to our programme. The learning she gets from her role as an Elite Coach Mentee at the FA not only improves her coaching but can be shared across the Academy to help us continually develop the programme.”