Emma Coates

Manager of Doncaster Belles. Age 25.

What does being the manager of a football team mean?

I’m in charge of all the football activities here at Doncaster Belles. We play in the women’s Super League 1 which is the highest level of women’s football, so it’s the equivalent of the men’s premier league.

My job is to make sure that I’ve got the tactics spot on and that I know the other team inside out. That there’s nothing they’re going to throw at us that I haven’t already anticipated or already planned for.

Before the game I always make sure that there’s a really good environment for the players, where they can come in and its not too intense. I like to think I know the players really well as individuals. So I know those who needs rallying up or a kick up the backside, and I know the players that need relaxing.

My role is exactly the same on the side of the pitch, making sure that if I see anything and I think the players need to know it Ill pass on that information. If I think the need to work harder, I’ll tell them. If they’re doing a great job, and I like praising players, I’ll tell them.

How did you get into the job?

My ambition when I was younger was to work in football. From a young age I wanted to be a football player, but I realised fairly quickly that there wasn’t a career in that for me. I wasn’t good enough and there weren’t the opportunities that there are now. So I went into coaching, when I was 12 or 13, informally. When I was 16 I did my coaching qualification and that lead me to where I am now. I remember when I was 15 or 16 I said to one of my teachers “I’m going to work full time in football” and she sort of said “no, think of something more realistic”. I look back now and I’m really happy that I can throw that back at them.

What is your advice to girls who would like to work in football?

You might want to be a football player but there are other opportunities in the game – there’s coaching, there’s all the media stuff, first aid, physio, the medical team. There are lots and lots of roles within the game, so don’t be too bogged down with one role.

What would your teenage self think if she could see you now?

If my teenage self could see me now I think she’d be proud. I’m ahead of where I wanted to be. I always wanted to work in football and have my EA licence by the time I’m 30. I’m 25 and I’m three quarters of the way there and I work full time in the game. I’ve worked hard to get where I am. I’m immensely proud.

I’d love to get the opportunity to one day work with the national squad, but right now I’m really happy where I am.

My ambition when I was younger was to work in football.