Karen Ephraim is a professor of the Master in Coaching course at the Johan Cruyff Institute, Amsterdam. Since 2010, Karen has been teaching the programme which aims to support coaches by improving oneself, using the philosophy of the founder of the institute, Johan Cruyff.
Originally a PE teacher for ten years, Karen went on to become the National Head Coach for the Wheelchair Rugby team and developed her own coaching philosophy aimed at working on “on possibilities and not impossibilities.”
In celebration of our recent webinar with the Johan Cruyff Institute, we wanted to interview a number of female coaches involved with the program. Below, Karen shares her journey into coaching and what life is like in the Netherlands as a female coach.
Read the full interview:
A scheme which combines e-learning and practical football sessions at schools across Italy has won gold in the Best Project category of the 2017 UEFA Grassroots Awards.
GiocoCalciando was developed by the youth sector of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and Italy’s ministry of education, and involves over 32,000 students and 2,400 teachers at primary schools all over the country.
“The idea was to provide teachers with a simple tool with which to teach football and convey certain educational messages,” explained the general secretary of the FIGC youth and educational department, Vito Di Gioia.
“GiocoCalciando is a multimedia guide which is split into four levels. In every level there is a multimedia educational part, there’s a quiz with questions and answers, and there’s a video section which allows us to familiarise the children with the exercises developed by our coaches.
“The e-learning part is very important,” he added, “as the kids learn the laws of football by playing an interactive game. Fair play is crucial, as the laws of the game not only apply to football, but also in terms of rules in everyday life. That’s something which is stressed repeatedly in the interactive game. It’s the real aim of the game.”
As well as these elements taught with teachers in a classroom setting, the children also get the opportunity to follow up what they have learnt with a practical session.
“Our grassroots experts come to schools at least four times a year to explain the project. Then they must also train the teachers to run the project over the course of the year,” said Di Gioia.
As with his tackles, Paul McGrath turned up on time to meet an audience in full chant of “Ohh Ahh, Paul McGrath”
With a smile on his face Paul uttered a wonderful summation with “Giggs killed my career and Cantona took my chant”. With the Giggs situation, it was reference to his days at Aston Villa when Giggs, 20 yards behind Paul, pushed the ball and then overtook him like a steam train. He realised that you can play on longer at the lower levels of the football tree, but chasing money was never his motive.
His reminisces about his times with the Robson, Whiteside and Gordon McQueen kept the laughter flowing. Even when playing for Ireland under Jack Charlton and there were regular night time curfews, but he, along with others, knew where every window in the training complex was and how to get in them without being discovered
Based over in Ireland where he was brought up on the aptly named Keeper Road, he still harbours a great affection for Manchester, and was as disbelieving as others as to how one person can act with a callous disregard for life and detonate a bomb in a crowd,
Famous names such as Maradona, Best, Brady, he has played with or against them all. He is loath to pick one out as either his hero or favourite player to watch as he believes they all had attributes that made them special. Against Best, McGrath thought he would have the long time retired former player “For breakfast”. Instead Best had him for lunch.
His views on the current United side is that they “have their mojo back” after the dark days of Van Gall and Moyes and are back playing with an attacking instinct rather than possession, possession, possession.
Ironically his moment of greatest enjoyment of the game of football is not when he was playing, or even on the subs bench. Instead, he was in the stands at Old Trafford as another legend, Bryan Robson, inspired United to overcome a 0-2 deficit from the first leg of a Cup Winners Cup time to win 3-2.
There are still a few of us around to agree with that memory
Images & Words – Ged Noonan
Online moving platform Movinga has conducted a study of over 170 football stars around the world, ranking them in order of the players who have relocated the furthest distance throughout their active playing careers. In addition, the total transfer fees throughout their careers were also calculated, resulting in Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior having the highest amount in collective transfer fees paid for any footballer, ever.
The top five footballers who have accumulated the highest transfer costs over the course of their careers are:
|Rank||Player||Years Active||No. Clubs Played||Cities||Countries||Continents||Overall Relocation Distance (km)||Transfer Fees Total (Mill. EUR)|
|2||Ángel di Maria||12||5||5||5||2||12,120.27||179.00|
With the summer transfer window currently taking place, the study offers a great opportunity to analyse the relocation patterns of players and determine which footballers have moved the furthest distance for the beautiful game. The Footballer Relocation Index offers a compelling insight into the sheer distance that some players have been required to relocate, while others have spent decades playing for the same team.
For the study, Movinga looked into all available transfer data for both active and retired footballers to determine the number of cities, countries and continents that a player has moved to. The Index is then ranked based on the overall distance each footballer has moved. Additionally, other key factors such as the position played, number of club trophies won and total transfer fees were included. From the results, links between the nationalities of the players who’ve moved the most are apparent, as well as number of club trophies won and overall relocation distance.
“At Movinga, we’re all about making relocation easier, so we understand the burden that frequent transfers have on individuals and their families. It’s admirable what these players go through. Only a few lucky footballers have the good fortune to avoid relocation, Lionel Messi for instance, who has played for Barcelona since he was a teen.” Comments Movinga’s MD Finn Age Hänsel.
The study highlighted several interesting findings, with German player Lutz Pfannenstiel relocating the furthest distance of 234,306.12 km. His relocation distance equates to 5.85 times around the world (based on the circumference of the earth) or 60.09% of the way to the moon. Seven players have never had to relocate, putting them at the bottom of the ranking: Francesco Totti, Paolo Maldini, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Rogeiro Ceni, Andrés Iniesta and Lionel Messi. Of those, only Messi and Iniesta are active players.
The study revealed that the top 10 footballers who have relocated furthest are:
|Rank||Player||Nationality||Status||Years Active||No. Clubs Played||Club Trophies||Cities||Countries||Continents||Overall Relocation Distance (km)|
|2||George Best||Northern Irish||Retired||19||18||5||17||6||5||153,600.83|
This is an extract from the full findings which can be found on Movinga’s results page: https://www.movinga.fr/en/football-relocation-index. The full methodology is also available on the results page and at the bottom of this press release.
The top 10 footballers who have relocated the shortest distances are:
|Rank||Player||Nationality||Status||Years Active||No. Clubs Played||Club Trophies||Cities||Countries||Continents||Overall Relocation Distance (km)|
A distance of 0.00 means that a player has never been relocated. Full findings can be found on Movinga’s results page: https://www.movinga.fr/en/football-relocation-index.
As the findings illustrate, there is a huge disparity between how far certain footballers relocate during their careers. The study reveals that the nationality of a player, the position they play and the amount of trophies they win can prove proportionate to their overall relocation distance. Looking at nationality as an example, and to illustrate the point made above that South Americans relocate more often than Europeans, retired Brazilian Rivaldo Ferreira and Italian Paolo Maldini both played for 24 years and both won over 20 club trophies. However, while Ferreira has relocated a distance of 62,092.01 km playing for 14 different clubs, Maldini has never needed to relocate, having spent his whole career in one single team. A notable exception to this pattern is retired Brazilian Rogeiro Ceni, who never relocated in his 23 year career.
- Of the top 50 footballers who have relocated the furthest, 62% (31) are Forwards, 22% (11) Midfielders, 8% (4) Defenders and 8% (4) Goalkeepers.
- Of the top 50 footballers who have relocated the least, 36% (18) are Midfielders, 30% (15) Defenders, 22% (11) Forwards and 12% (6) Goalkeepers.
- Of the top 50 footballers who have relocated the furthest, almost half (23) originate from Central or Southern America.
- Of the top 50 footballers who have relocated the least, almost all (46) originate from Europe.
- The two players with the joint largest number of cities played for, at 29, are Brits Trevor Benjamin and John Burridge. Coincidentally, the data shows that they didn’t relocate far in comparison to other footballers, having played in only 3 countries and 1 country respectively.
- Ryan Giggs is one of the 5 retired players who never relocated, however he is the most decorated footballer in the index with 35 club trophies after playing for Manchester United for 24 years.
Step aside Sterling, Alli, Kane and welcome Tuwai, Fadehan, Jackson, Bridges and Tucker, also known as ‘The Neville Wears Prada’ – who this weekend were crowned as England’s first ever international Bubble Football squad.
The team hope to bounce their way into international glory representing England at The Stag Company Bubble Football World Cup in London in May 2018 following a national qualification tournament.
The qualifiers took place on Sunday 25 June at Powerleague, Shoreditch where players donned inflatable zorbs to play five-a-side football with a twist.
A fast, competitive and tactical game, bubble football is one of the nation’s latest sporting crazes allowing bigger tackles but still demanding high levels of footballing skill.
‘The Neville Wears Prada’ displayed smart footwork, excellent bounce backs, impressive bubble tackles and solid teamwork successfully working their way to the final against ‘Son’s Of Pitches’, beating ‘Football Beyond Borders’ and ‘Seagulls’. The final resulted in a 4-4 finish, leading to extra time and concluding with penalties. The winning team won the penalties 3-1 – proving their performance under pressure!
The squad will spend the next ten months training and preparing for the 2018 World Cup, where the finals are set to take place on Wembley’s hallowed turf.
David Bridges, ‘The Neville Wears Prada’ Captain and ex-professional footballer with Cambridge Utd, Kettering Town and Stevenage FC, said: “It’s unbelievable to think we will be able to say we were at the first ever Bubble Football World Cup and we represented England. Son’s of Pitches were a really hard team to beat, but we just about won it. Now to prepare for next May!”
Rob Hill, The Stag Company CEO & Founder of the Bubble Football World Cup, said: “With Bubble Football being a hugely popular stag activity, we wanted to branch out and invite sportsmen from across the country to have a go at the football-come-zorb phenomenon.
“Having successfully launched the Bubble Football World Cup and getting 12 international teams to register, we just needed an England squad to represent the nation.
“We’re confident that ‘The Neville Wears Prada’ will succeed in the 2018 World Cup and make the footballing nation proud again.”
England’s biggest competition is currently the USA, as the bubble football association boasts 39 leagues.
That said, there is optimism in the air that England will regain its football legacy and preserve its prestige in the sporting world, as hope has been restored that the Bubble Football World Cup could see England lift the first football trophy since the 1966 World Cup!
The Bubble Football World Cup tournament is set to take place throughout the weekend of 19-20 May 2018, where the final will be hosted in Wembley. For more information visit https://www.thestagcompany.com/bubble-football-world-cup.
In episode 15 we talk with Kelly Smith about her football career, how the sport has changed over the past twenty years and her views on success. We also talk about what it’s like being in the public eye and how it feels to embark on a new career as a coach.
Kelly Smith, arguably England’s greatest ever female player, dedicated her whole life to playing football and retired from international duty after 20 years. Kelly was the first England Women’s superstar, on the global stage. One of Smith’s greatest strengths was her longevity, defying lengthy injuries and her age to steal the show in big matches in the twilight of her career. A surprise selection to start the 2016 Women’s FA Cup final aged 37, having required ankle surgery in 2015, Smith shone under the famous Wembley arch in the number 10 role. That display was typical of the enduring class that saw her shortlisted for the 2015 Women’s Players’ Player of the Year award when she was 36.
Featured Image courtesy of https://sportsliberated.com/2017/02/19/celebration-game-kelly-smiths-testimonial-could-only-end-in-one-way/
Many look at the U.S. as the leader in women’s sports participation and competition. When it comes to opportunities to play that may indeed be true. However, behind all the Olympic medals and championship performances of U.S. women’s national teams representing many sports hides a dirty little secret. Girls and women in the U.S. play, but the coaching, directing and governance remains almost exclusively the bastion of men.
The news that USA Hockey and the women on the national team reached an agreement in time for the World Hockey Championship was met with celebration. As was the news last week that, more than one year after an EEOC filing by the players, the US Women’s National Soccer Team finally reached a contract agreement with the U.S. Soccer Federation. These are just the latest in a series of events that and serve as reminders that when it comes to remuneration and developmental support, U.S. women’s teams lag far behind their male counterparts. While the new contracts are cause for celebration would the contracts have been more equitable to begin with, and threats of strikes avoided, had the governing bodies of USA hockey and US Soccer been more representative of their constitutes? In other words, if women were involved in governance would the treatment of the teams have been more equitable from the outset.
The U.S. Women’s hockey team is ranked No. 1 and the Soccer team ranked No. 2 in the world. They are consistently ranked higher than their male counterparts who sit at No. 4 and No. 23 respectively. However, the money allocated for women’s pay, accommodations, travel and player development lags behind that of the men. The systemic lack of female representation in the governance from the youth level through the highest levels of national sport governance likely plays a significant role in this.
This underrepresentation is present from the top down to the youngest youth levels. Looking at soccer, at the youth level US Club Soccer has a nine-member Board of Directors. Not one of these positions is held by a woman. U.S. Youth Soccer does a bit better with one woman currently serving on its 12 member Board of Directors. As most youth players are on teams registered in one or both of these organizations, and close to half of the registered players are female, this seems a glaring omission and extreme lack of representation. U.S. Soccer has a 12-person board with three female members. Not a single woman sits on the U.S. Soccer nine-member Budget Committee. Given the success of the women’s national team and the number of girls playing across the country at all levels this lack of input and representation seems at odds with both the success and interest of women in the game.
While some sports do better than others at having boards that reflect their membership, the lack of women in decision making positions within national sports organizations in the U.S. is clearly not unique to soccer and hockey.
Laura Harvey – Head Coach; Seattle Reign FC
With board members often drawn from the elite professional playing and coaching ranks, to ensure there is a pool to draw from, it is important that women are represented in these roles as well. Unfortunately at the professional level the number of women filling coaching positions is only marginally better than what is seen at the board level. In the 10-team National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) only the Seattle Reign have a woman in the Head Coach position. The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) does better with six of its twelve teams led by a female head coach. In the four team National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) two teams have female head coaches. Yet when the gender of the players changes from female to male, the women disappear. In the MLS, NHL and NBA not a single team is led by a female head coach. It is here that the assumption that a woman could not be qualified or respected enough to lead men comes into play. With national governing bodies overseeing both male and female athletes it is perhaps this stereotype that begins to answer why so few governance positions are held by women.
There was a time when women playing sports was a novelty and deemed of little value. At that time women ran the show. Before “merging” with the NCAA in 1982 the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) governed women’s sports and more than 90% of the teams were coached by women. The administration of the AIAW was almost exclusively made up of women.
Today in the NCAA the number of women’s teams coached by women hovers around 40%. Only 20% of Athletic Director positions are held by women, most at DIII programs. As opportunities for females to play grew so too did their monetary value to those in charge and men began to dominate the coaching and administrative ranks of the previously separate sphere of women’s sports. The current 16 member NCAA Board of Governors includes one woman.
The last few days of April are set to bring a huge divide to the usually United City of Manchester. Just twice a year, the gloves come off and the shirts go on – and you’re either sporting red or blue.
But this year – good things come in threes as the Manchester Grammar School is preparing for its very own Manchester Derby, as MGS’s First XI will take on their arch rivals (for one day only!) the MGS Second XI in the Final of the Manchester Schools Cup.
Both teams have impressively qualified for the final, and bragging rights within not only the School – but the whole of Greater Manchester will be up for grabs.
The two teams will meet at a neutral venue and the Final will be held at F.C. United’s ground at Broadhurst Park, north-east Manchester, on Friday 28th April – the day after Manchester City and Manchester United battle it out at The Etihad.
The First XI booked their place in the Final with a 6-0 win over Loreto Sixth Form College on 29 March, just two days after the Second XI progressed to the Final with a tense penalty-shoot victory over St Bede’s College.
It is the first time in nine years the two MGS teams will contest the Final of the prestigious Manchester Schools Cup, and it promises to be a nail-biting battle to the finish.
Director of Sport at MGS Mark Walmsley said: “It’s a fantastic achievement to have not just one, but two teams from MGS competing for the Manchester Schools Cup, and we encourage good old healthy competition!
“It is testament to the schools excellent coaches, especially our Head of Football Gus Wilson, and the determination, talent and skill of our boys that we are able to field two quality teams who will play each other in the Final.
“I’m sure the Final will be a memorable day for everyone here at MGS, particularly as it will be played in F.C. United’s stadium which will give the fixture even more prestige – I’m sure it’ll a day the boys won’t forget. The only issue will be who the supporters and staff will be cheering for!”