iCanCoach: Julie Chipchase

Tell us about how and why you got involved in coaching?

I have always had a love of sport and coming from a big family of 6 brothers, the chances of me being involved in football were always going to be high. I have always been interested in coaching and teaching and I always thought if I had not had a career in football, I would have hopefully become a teacher. I have coached lots of different sports but football was always my biggest passion. My playing career came to an end and a logical progression for me was to get into coaching. I was lucky enough to be asked to coach Doncaster Belles Reserve Team which was a great first step into something I loved. Working with people and players to support their learning is something that I am passionate about and it gives me the opportunity to give something back to a game that taught me so much. I had already started my coaching qualifications whilst I was playing purely because I was interested undertaking what is now level 1 and 2 in coaching football. The courses looked a little different to what they do now but what they did give me which I found a real positive was the technical and tactical sides of the game. Part of the assessment was a laws of the game test sheet which I failed and had to resit but I managed it second time around.

After 2 seasons with Doncaster Belles Reserve team I went onto coach and manage the first team for 6 years before taking over as manager of Leeds United Ladies for a further 6 years. In addition I have worked with U15’s U17’s and U23’s England Women’s National teams.

Having gone full circle, I now find myself back at where it all started in a slightly different role with Doncaster Belles where I support and mentor the coaches within the club.


What do you enjoy about coaching football?

I have been involved in football to some capacity all my life and I cannot see that changing anytime soon, especially now my son and daughter play who I love to watch and cheer on as a parent and not the coach, which is nice but can also be frustrating. The rewards are huge from seeing someone you have coached going onto representing England to players and coaches who I now class as lifelong friends whose journey I have been part of.


What does your job entail at The FA and what do you like about it?

Developing and supporting coaches is how I would describe my role as a County Coach Developer which could include delivery of the FA’s Coach Education courses, CPD events and developing the FA’s tutor workforce. However, it is all the things we don’t mention that are the real magical bits. The endless hours just debating football, watching someone have those light bulb moments and generally just working together to achieve our full potential, whatever that may be.


What are your greatest achievements in coaching and why?

I was pretty pleased when I achieved my Pro Licence, however developing people and players would always be my biggest achievement. I am always immensely proud when coaches who I have worked with over the years take the time to call or email to let me know how they are getting on and hopefully they feel I played some small part in their journey.


What is your best memory of coaching?

Coaching Doncaster Belles first team to a 3-2 win vs Arsenal in the semi-final of the FA Cup when we were huge underdogs. One of the goals came from a set piece that we had practiced in training leading up to the game that everyone told me would never work but it did. Moral of the story go for what you believe in!


What are your goals in the sport?

I have just recently completed a PG Cert in sports coaching which I found really challenging and enjoyable. I learn so much from the people I work with and the coaches who come along to the courses, we all have our part to play. I am considering coaching and helping out with my son or daughters team simply because I love coaching and the challenge of working with younger players as opposed to older players where generally I have done most of my coaching.


What are the biggest obstacles you have faced in football?

Life is a challenge, it is how you approach it. Be brave, allow yourself to be vulnerable and always have an open mind to learning and never give in on hard work.


Who’s had the biggest influence in your coaching career and why?

I was lucky enough to work with and be mentored by Dick Bates and Steve Rutter who I could listen to for hours and learn so much from, they taught me so much about football that I had not even considered, they gave their time freely because they wanted to support and help me.


What advice would you give to people wishing to get involved in coaching football?


Take the step, there is no better time to be involved. The support network and resources is vast. There are many peaks and troughs across the season, but the rewards are huge.


Check out West Riding FA's upcoming coaching courses and get involved!