In the fourth of our UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 special Industry Insider series, we sit down with Sian Osmond, Middlesex FA’s Women’s Recreational Officer!
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
I currently hold two roles within football, the first of these roles is Women’s Recreational Football Officer at Middlesex FA. This is a role that is funded by Sport England with the aim of creating a legacy in women’s recreational football off the back of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 in the host city of London. My aim is to grow the opportunities available for those women aged 16+ that want to play football recreationally within Brent, Ealing and Hounslow. This is a role I took on just under 18 months ago having worked as a project manager for Barnet FC Community Trust (The Hive Foundation) for several years.
The second role I hold is Head Coach of FA Women’s National League side London Bees. I am heading into my second season in charge of the team after several years working as Assistant Head Coach.
What do you do in your current role?
At Middlesex FA my work is focused on developing the opportunities available for women to play recreational football. We do this by working with Pro Clubs and Grassroots sides alike to aide them in providing women with opportunities at their clubs and encouraging them to get Mums, Sister, Aunties, and Grandmothers attached to their teams to get involved in the beautiful game.
Recently we also have been working with some very exciting community groups, which means we have been able to make football accessible to groups of women that may have never had the opportunity to get involved. We’re doing this by helping to up-skill their volunteers and support these community groups with setting up new playing opportunities. Through this we have been able to develop sustainable projects in areas that football hasn’t really touched before, which has been a massively rewarding to be a part of.
In my role at London Bees, my main responsibilities are the management of players and staff daily, providing them with support as and when required. Incorporating a weekly schedule for training and fixtures, working with the team during our sessions and ensuring we can execute the game plan on a match day. As well as some of the not so glamorous stuff like organising the kit!
“Normal” isn’t a thing in sport so what does an “average” week look like for you?
An average week for me is working for Middlesex FA throughout the week usually Monday to Friday between 8-4. This will sometime change in accordance to recreational football session visits, events or committee meetings. Then on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings I head across to The Hive in prep for evening training sessions with the Bees and of course on a Sunday its game day. So, it’s a pretty full-on week but it’s massively enjoyable.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
I have always known that sport is something that I wanted to be involved in from a young age, in particular football. I started coaching from around the age of 14 and jumped onto my coaching qualifications as soon as I could at the age of 16. So, I have always known it’s something that I wanted to be involved in in one way or another. In terms of how I ended up in my current roles I would say that has come from persistently seeking new opportunities and not being afraid to volunteer and put in the hard work and through that you will earn the chances to access new and exciting job roles.
What is your number one focus when it comes to your work?
My number one focus across both of my roles I guess would be people. I think it’s so important to develop good relationships with those people you are working with and for on a daily basis. Through this I believe you can really achieve some fantastic outcomes.
Can you tell us about a time you failed and what you learned from it?
I think one of the biggest lessons I learnt on the back of a time I didn’t achieve a set out target was when I took over at London Bees as Interim Head Coach the season we were relegated out of the FA Women’s Championship. It was devastating that we were unable to achieve the target of keeping London Bees within the league. However, I learnt so much about the role of being a Head Coach and what that actually looks like in the day to day. In short, it’s a lot of hard work, requires a lot of allocation of your free time and it almost felt like a full-time job on top of my full-time job. But during this time, I learnt how to manage the demands of the job and recognised in myself how and what I needed to operate at the level that was needed by the players and staff at the time. So, although it was a difficult experience I will always be grateful for the lessons I learned during that time.
What excites you most about UEFA Women’s EURO 2022?
What has excited me about the EUROs has been just the sheer amount of interest that has been shown in the tournament. The attendances are smashing records! There is a real buzz about women’s football this summer which is great to see. I was lucky enough to attend the opening game at Old Trafford and it was amazing to look around at the sheer number of people there to watch the women’s game. I’m really hopeful that now through the legacy work this should transition into participation in all aspects of the women’s game increasing too.
If you could change one thing about your Industry, what would you change?
A thing I would like to change in the industry is the number of females working full time within sporting roles. There has been a real improvement in the female representation over recent years, but I would love to see more women taking senior management roles within the industry as seeing is believing! We want the next generation of girls to aim high and achieve big in sport.
Sport is a hectic industry, what do you do to switch off?
To switch off I like spending time with my friends and family and my dog! I also love going to watch live music of any genre it’s a definite passion of mine.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
The biggest piece of advice I would give is to remain persistent and remain curious. It is so important in this industry for you to have the drive and passion to continue your journey and know we all have to go through those moments of volunteering and hard work to achieve our ultimate goals. I also strongly believe in the importance of curiosity, what I mean by this is always be willing to learn and ask questions about yourself and ask and develop ideas through speaking with others. It is so important for you to continue to push yourself to develop and be better.
How to follow Sian Osmond…
Please follow me on twitter! @Osmondsian
Thanks for reading our chat with Sian Osmond! If you want to read more from our Industry Insider series, you can do so by clicking here.