Mackenzie is a Diamond League coach for North Sydney United and a NSFA Coaching Scholarship recipient. She is also a member of the NSFA Female Coach Mentoring Program.
How did you get into coaching? Who has influenced your journey?
I did lots of bits and pieces in community coaching whilst I was young, mostly my younger brother’s team or years below me at school growing up. However, my first coaching role for a club other than my brother’s team, was here at NSU. In 2016- 2017 I had undergone a few grassroots coaching certificates just for knowledge, but in in July that year I tore most major ligaments in my right knee, and of course my ACL. I luckily had Rob Lorenc, who was my coach at Gladesville Ravens U15s, reach out, asking if I wanted to start coaching at NSU.
As I think all injured players are, I was just so grateful to stay in the game. When I started out, all I knew was the coaches I had, so the people around me were my biggest influences and still the people I look up to today.
What do you love about coaching?
For me it started as an opportunity to stay involved with football during my injury. Now it is a chance to have a direct effect on whether or not players stay involved. I love the opportunity to impact a player’s development and foster their love of the game the same way mine was by the coaches I learnt from.
Can you take us through the NSFA Coaching Scholarship process and your C-Licence experience?
Doing a coaching licence has always been daunting, and the C was the first one I attended solo as I always tried to drag someone else along (or get dragged along myself). So initially it was all about confidence, throughout the whole process I kept in close contact with our Head Coach Joe Liddle and fellow coach Ben Sutton as they helped me in this regard. Most of the process for me came down to building that confidence to apply and pursue the NSFA Coaching Scholarship. I applied, met with a NSFA panel and spoke my truth, it became apparent very quickly, just by speaking that this was so important to me. I was very lucky in that applying for the scholarship really brought to my attention how important being a coach was to me, and it was a massive opportunity when I received the scholarship to then go on my C licence course to really work on this.
The course itself was a brilliant experience. It was my first coaching course I got to go on with other women being present and it was great to see the room look so equal. That brought me joy and made me see why female football development is such a priority of mine.
Why are you involved with the Female Coach Mentoring Program (FCMP)?
My grassroots connections are in another district all together, so working within NSFA has always had an alienating element to it, as I was tentative to branch out and get to know others. The FCMP presented itself as the perfect opportunity to be a part of a community within NSFA as not only coach, but as a female looking for solidarity. I have already seen the effect on myself of having like-minded people to share my time with and its tremendous effect on my well-being and coaching attitude. I hope that others within the FCMP gain confidence and solidarity throughout this process, especially young female coaches as I can only imagine what a powerful resource it will become.
What advice would you give to a female who is thinking about getting involved with coaching?
I think coaching is a difficult process to ease into, especially when all you seem to see is men. So, I would prompt you to do the research and look for role models. Start shaping who and why you want to coach off who you can see in the media and in your community. Take what aspects of these people excite you and let that do the work in convincing you that coaching is something you’d love to try.
Click here for more information about the Female Coach Mentoring Program.