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Friday 13 Jan 2017
Nine women graduate from Female Football Leaders Programme

Nine participants have graduated from the 2017 Irish FA Female Football Leaders Programme.

The event was held at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park with graduates including Northern Ireland Internationals Julie Nelson, Marissa Callaghan and Jessica Foy along with Stacey Bryce, Megan Gore, Vivian Blyth, Meriem Naili, Diane Jake and Heather Wright. 

The course is headed up by Women's Domestic Football Manager Gail Redmond and she explained why the award came about: "2013 was the first ever course, before that we saw gaps in leadership roles for females at both male and female clubs and we wanted to bridge that gap. We have had around 9-10 participants every year and this is the fourth graduation."

Redmond also shared what's involved in the course: "The course lasts 10 months, participants meet once a month for a full day.

"Throughout the months they cover different topics regarding football administration, learn about governance, opportunities within clubs and how to run a correct and proper club.

"On the other side of the leadership they go through different modules within leadership and they also have to do a work booklet and a practical exam  with leadership, resolving conflicts and things like that.

"It's an exciting course. If you are passionate about football or leader in your team or club and want more skills to prepare you or you sit on a board this would be a fantastic course for you to have skills that will help you on your journey to do what you want to do. "

One of the class of 2017, Ambassadors Ladies FC player Heather Wright, who also works as the Irish FA Sales and Marketing Manager, shared why the course was useful for her: "I had just taken on the role with the Irish FA but in the meantime had also started to play football locally and now volunteering as club secretary. It was about me gaining a greater understanding about Women's Football in Northern Ireland."

"I have shared time on the course with International footballers, people coaching for 30 years and those who have just started. It's great seeing it from all of their view points and understanding what's important to know."