Chesterfield FC Women may not have been in action since mid-March, but that hasn't stopped their development as a club off-the-field. Katie Rowson, who was appointed as head of coaching last week, arrives with a stellar reputation in the women’s game having previously managed Doncaster Rovers Belles and Watford Ladies. Here is our Q&A piece with Katie...
How did your move to the Spireites come about?
KR: “I’m a massive football fan and have a career in coaching. I’m constantly making sure I’m up to speed with the landscape of women’s football and what’s going on. I’ve seen over the last year some growth in Chesterfield FC Women, in terms of what they’ve been doing behind the scenes. I ended up getting in touch. The connection was made in about February/March time and then it was just about understanding whether it would be the right thing for both the club and myself.”
You arrive with experience of managing at the top level of women’s football in the Women’s Super League. What do you feel you can achieve at Chesterfield?
KR: “No matter what project I throw myself into, I always look to make sure that I can go in and make an impact. After discussions with the club, it was felt that I could make an impact from the coach mentoring side and also understanding what needs to happen to get up the player pyramid from the first-team. I think I can get involved and make some impact with the coaches and then that should have an impact on the players.”
Would you say you have a particular style of coaching? Is there a particular way of working you’ll be looking to implement?
KR: “My playing philosophy has definitely changed over my career because I do think you have to change it up depending on what situation you are in. I need to make sure I understand how Chesterfield want to play and then I need to be able to mentor the coaches. I’m an FA affiliate tutor so I definitely have that experience about how we should mentor coaches, but I’ve also got 20 years of experience of mentoring coaches in different ways. It isn’t about me and what I want to come in and impose, it’s about what the club want and where they want to go.”
What are your particular objectives?
KR: “The objective for me is to mentor the coaches and also to align the player pathway from a technical point of view. I’d say my aspiration is to align the technical programme so everybody at the club has an idea of the philosophy of play but also that the coaches are aligned. I would say that is the aspiration and that’s not me coming in and imposing that, that is what the club wants. It’s my job to deliver that.”
Have you always been passionate about the development of young players?
KR: “I love coaching and I love being directly involved with players. I equally love coach mentoring and working at the performance level. Not every single player is going to join Chesterfield and seamlessly go through the pathway to the first-team. We want to ensure any player who joins us at any age receives a positive environment where it’s about development and progression.”
You’ve taken on the role at a challenging time - have you been able to start work yet?
KR: “From the perspective of a coach, you’ve never got enough time behind the scenes to do all your planning. You are normally straight on the grass. In a weird and wonderful way, this has given me time to really understand what we want to get out of the next season to start with. I can then put the foundations in place and we are doing a lot of work behind the scenes.”
How excited are you at the prospect of helping the club to continue pushing in the right direction?
KR: “The growth of the club already has been absolutely huge. To be able to appoint a general manager and now a head of coaching really shows the work that is being done. The people I have been communicating with at the club have that passion and desire and have been working ridiculously hard. They are ready to go again and progress even further.”