AFL announces Women’s Coach Acceleration Program

The AFL is pleased to launch the Women’s Coach Acceleration Program to fast-track the development of women in coaching and assist in their progression to senior coaching roles across both AFL and AFLW programs.
All AFL clubs can apply to be awarded one of six available positions as part of the Women’s Coach Acceleration Program that will see successful applicants employed by an AFL Club for a minimum two-year period and provided an opportunity to undertake a coaching role within an AFL or AFLW program.
Each successful applicant will have a formal mentorship with a senior men’s AFL coach and will have direct access to elite AFL coaching settings (eg. AFL match day coaching box, game planning sessions and match committee meetings) to support their development.
Positions in the program will be awarded through an application process, with details being sent to AFL Clubs today. AFL Clubs will be invited to put forward their intent to provide the program recipient with high quality practical skill development, experience, and mentorship in an elite coaching environment.
All emerging coaches taking part in the program will work together with their Club to develop a defined set of development objectives across the two-year period, including achieving the Level 3 AFL Coaching Accreditation, at a minimum.
The program will be co-funded by the respective Club, together with the AFL, with relevant Soft Cap exemptions in place during the two-year period. 
AFL Executive General Manager Football Operations Andrew Dillon said the newly developed program reinforces the AFL’s commitment to advancing women within the industry, on and off the field.
“The AFL remains committed to creating legitimate coaching pathways for women, and through this program, we look forward to witnessing the industry’s emerging coaching talent further develop their skillset to progress to senior coaching positions at the elite AFL and AFLW level,” Mr Dillon said.
“Each successful member of the program will be appointed to an assistant, line, or development coaching position within their Club’s AFL and/or AFLW program and have unfettered access to elite coaching settings and mentorship at their respective Club.
“We will also invest in a program at the AFL to provide support to the program recipients and ensure compliance to the program requirements.”
The program will be overseen by a Women’s Senior Coach Acceleration Steering Committee, comprising of the following:

  • Laura Kane – AFL General Manager Competition Management
  • Brad Scott – AFL General Manager Football Operations
  • Nicole Livingstone – AFL General Manager Women’s Football
  • Julia Lawrence – AFL Coaching Development & Education Manager
  • Belinda Clark – Founder, The Leadership Playground and Former Australian Women’s Cricket Captain

Successful applications will be announced in March 2022, ahead of the 2022 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. 
The Women’s Coach Acceleration Program is part of the AFL’s commitment to advancing women in coaching. Other initiatives include:

  • The BHP Women’s Coaching Academy – launched in 2018, the Academy provides women with the opportunity to complete a Level 3 AFL Coach Accreditation Course. Read more here.

The current intake is: Lauren Arnell – Development Coach/Female Head Coach, Brisbane Lions Academy, Elise Coventry – AFLW Development Coach, Geelong Cats, Courtney Cramey – AFLW Assistant Coach, Adelaide Crows, Jacara Egan – Assistant Coach U19 Men’s/Women’s, Calder Cannons, Pia Faletti – Rogers Cup Head Coach/League Assistant Coach, Subiaco FC Women’s, Daisy Pearce – AFLW Captain, Melbourne Football Club, Katherine Smith – Head Coach – Premier Women’s Team, Macquarie University FC, Emma Zielke – AFLW Assistant Coach, Brisbane Lions. 

  • She Can Coach program – has been extended nationally this year after starting as a Victorian product in 2018. There are currently 36 women involved from across the community, state level and talent pathways, and aims to increase the number of and improve the capacity of coaches, as well as increasing visibility of coaching role models.  

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