Rovers coach given opportunity to qualify for top managerial roles

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Kayleigh Steed wants to be England manager.

But, as a coach, she is fighting a system that currently has only 29 female coaches with the licence necessary for the top jobs, compared to 1,484 men in England.

The 23-year-old from Sudbury is determined to add her name to the shortlist of women with a UEFA A licence, while looking to generally fight the gender imbalances in coaching, one step at a time.

To help in her quest, she has secured funding from Betfair, as part of their Fairer Game campaign to help 50 female coaches complete their UEFA B licences by June.

England international Rachel Yankey, who holds a UEFA B licence and is working towards a UEFA A, has partnered with Betfair to front the campaign, as well as offer advice and support to the selected coaches.

The Haverhill Rovers youth coach apprentice and a former AFC Sudbury Ladies player, has already started working towards the qualification, which is needed before you can gain the A licence to allow coaching top sides.

“I’ve always wanted to coach,” she said. “And I’ve done it since I was about 15 or 16, my passion lies in coaching.

“My absolute dream would be to become England manager one day. Even to be involved in the set-up in any way would be amazing.

“I want to be a top manager and coach but it is harder when you’re female.

“There’s just so few women in the game as coaches, and hardly anyone to get advice from.

“I’m really pleased Rachel is going to be around to do this, answer questions and mentor me through the process — it gives me confidence to know there’s someone to help.

“We went down for the launch on Monday and it was great fun.

“It was brilliant to meet Rachel but also meet other women who are doing the same thing as me.”

Steed said that Yankey had also performed a coaching session at the launch event, which provided her with an invaluable insight into top-level coaching.

“I’ve only been to one event and already feel like I learned a lot,” she added.

“It’s just really exciting to be involved in a national campaign, to have beaten others to get a place, and to have the opportunities they are offering.

“I don’t know much about it yet but there’s apparently a chance to spend some time at Barcelona and Juventus.

“That would be incredible, to see how it works there.”

Peter Betts, development manager at The New Croft, said the club are ‘extremely proud’ of Kayleigh already and fully believe she has the ability to go far.

He said: “It’s great recognition for her, she’s a delight to work with and has already proved herself an asset at the club. It’s a great chance for her.”

Steed will be assessed by UEFA in April, at The New Croft, to see if she is ready to be awarded the B licence.