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Meet the only female football coach in the England Southern Football League (UK)

Nicky DeBonis is proud to be the only female coach working in the Southern League, but she says there should be more opportunities for young football coaches, irrespective of their sex.

The 19-year-old is part of manager Steve Cleal’s staff at Bishop’s Cleeve, alongside assistant manager Matt Jeynes and recent arrival Alex Lumsden, 23.

“I live, breathe and work football and I’m extremely proud to be a female coach in the Southern League,” DeBonis said.

“I feel like I have accomplished a large amount by becoming involved within coaching men’s football at this level and I wish to continue to progress.

“It’s important for more women to get involved within football as it provides positive role models encouraging girls to become involved in sport.

“There shouldn’t be such a large divide between women and men’s football and there should be more of a crossover with it being seen the norm for females to coach men’s teams and males to coach women’s teams.”

DeBonis has been involved in football since starting out as a player at the age of four.

She signed for Bishop’s Cleeve Colts at the age of eight, remaining with the club through until the Under-16s, also playing for Woodmancote primary and Cleeve secondary school teams.

She then played for Bishop’s Cleeve Ladies for three seasons and combined that with playing for Hartpury College, but she has always had a keen interest in coaching.

“While at school I took part in young leader awards and after leaving school I attended Hartpury College where I completed the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport, specialising in Football. I was the only female on this course,” she said.



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