Marieanne Spacey offers advice ahead of Lionesses first game at new Wembley Stadium
Marieanne Spacey is one of the most iconic English footballers. She scored 28 goals in 91 appearances for the England Women’s national team while playing for Wimbledon then Arsenal, winning every domestic competition before signing for Fulham where she ended up assuming the role of player-manager when the club reverted to semi-professional status.
A holder of the UEFA A-Licence, Spacey now works as Assistant Coach to the England Women’s Senior team. Writing from St. George’s Park as the national side prepare for their first game at the new Wembley Stadium against Germany on Sunday 23 November, Spacey touches upon the importance of this historic game and the advice she gives to aspiring coaches.
“Women’s football got a really big boost during the 2012 Olympics. Team GB beating Brazil in front of 70,000 people gave the game a positive shift of opinion and a groundswell of support. Perhaps a lot of those people hadn’t seen a women’s game before and for some, it was a surprise that the game is as good as it is, while for others it was confirmation for those who have supported us for a long time.
“It’s about maintaining and growing that support, which is why our match against Germany at Wembley is really important. We’ve got an opportunity to demonstrate how the game has changed, how quick and skilful it is and the passion and ability of the players. And when we go on the road again, we hope we can continue to grow our support the way we have in places such as Hartlepool and Brighton ahead of, hopefully another game in Wembley in the future, against world class opposition.
“This first game is an example of the opportunities and pathways that currently exist. There are more than ever, but there’s still so much potential for more. We have to blow our own trumpet and support the coaches that are beginning their journey into coaching by utilising the people who have been there and done that as both inspiration and aspiration in our industry.
“For me personally, there weren’t a huge amount of female coaches I could look up to when I was earning my badges. I was lucky enough to work with Steve Rutter, a coach who oozed information and knowledge. He was always open and gave me great advice, seeing me as me, as opposed to a female coach. Nowadays, I talk a lot to Mo Marley who has been involved with International football for more than ten years, about her methods and she’s been fantastic in listening and advising.
“There is still a lack of that mentoring and those channels of advice. One of the problems that can arise is that most coaches are working during the day so we need to get out to them with our mentors and give them access to learning opportunities.
“We are therefore looking to build on the Female Mentoring Programme that was set up by Brent Hills and Hope Powell and really take this forward to offer Mentoring opportunities to a greater number of female coaches, who want to better themselves either through qualifications or knowledge of coaching, to be the best coach they can be.
“One of the things that can be seen is that coaching courses can be quite male-dominated. For many female coaches, this is different to the work they’re doing on a day-to-day basis within the women’s pathway, so the challenge is to be recognised by all as a coach, rather than the female coach in a group. All coaches have to go out in the same bad weather and train and improve.
“When people come to me for advice, I always tell them to believe in themselves. As a player or a coach, you go through times when you struggle and question yourself, but it is about having belief in your methods, getting feedback and accepting that feedback for what it is, which is to make you a better coach, doing the right thing for you to make yourself better.