Inspired coach makes the grade
FIONA Stevenson left for Sydney as a respected soccer trainer — and returned as one of the highest accredited coaches in town.
Mrs Stevenson travelled south to get the prestigious Asian Football Confederation, Football Federation Australia (AFC FFA) B Licence coaching certificate, which makes her one of the region’s most highly qualified coaches.
Aurelio Vidmar, former Socceroo and current Adelaide United coach, completed the course alongside Stevenson.
“Only people that are really keen to coach high levels do this course, and they only select a certain amount each time,” Stevenson said.
Just 20 coaches are hand picked for the 17-day course.
“I wasn’t picked the first time. It was difficult because they were fast-tracking all the A-League coaches, who are now required to have their A Licence,” she said.
It has taken Mrs Stevenson 10 years to get to this point in her coaching career.
Football Bundaberg development officer Richard Mitchell said it was a major coup for the region.
“To have a lady with her knowledge developing football in Bundaberg is fantastic. It will only encourage and inspire the juniors to bigger and better things and improve the standard here,” he said.
For her final practical test, the Moore Park Football Club coaching director was given the reins of a W-League Brisbane Roar training.
“I had complete control of the session. It was a great experience and I’ve come back with a whole new way of coaching to teach,” she said.
After analysing the format of club football across the world, FFA have had a recent structural overhaul of national football.
All Australian teams, from grassroots to the elite, have been encouraged to adopt a certain system of play.
“They want all the aspiring juniors to be aware of the system they want. Selectors won’t even look at a team if they aren’t playing that particular system,” she said.
It is Stevenson’s job to introduce this system to Bundaberg.
And it is a job she is already putting into practise, overseeing the Bundaberg Spirit pre-season efforts last night.