Newham’s only female head coach of boys’ football team is big success
PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 August 2017
A Plaistow medical sales rep is blazing the trail for women in football as Newham’s only female head coach of a boys’ team.
A medical sales rep is blazing the trail for women in football as the borough’s only female head coach of a boys’ team.
Michelle Antwi, 27, has had two successful years with the Newham Warriors under-12s team since vice chairman Tony Davies and chairman Pete Rochester gave her the job.
Under her guidance, the Warriors recorded 21 wins, two draws and just one loss in the East London and Essex league last season.
“I was trying to be like Arsenal in one season when they went unbeaten,” she said.
“I still think is is a massive achievement from when we started to where we are.”
Despite playing for years, Plaistow resident Michelle only got the job by chance after taking her nephew along to trials in 2015.
“It was cold and I thought I can’t leave my other [watching] nephews to stand there so I thought I would reach them some football tricks,” she said.
Her skills caught the eye of management and she was asked to sign for the job.
“I thought I might as well, I love football,” she said. “Let’s see what it is like on the other side.”
Michelle slowly grew her team from four to 25 regulars and the Warriors came fourth in the table during their first season.
“They did really well,” she said. “For some of them, it was the first time they had played in a league.”
Michelle’s success means she is now taking on a new under-14s team for this year. She is also is starting her PGCE teacher training in September.
“I am proud of how far I have come, I have never thought about coaching,” she said.
A keen player at primary school, Michelle represented Essex County in her teens.
“I was the only girl in the boys’ team [primary level], I was trying to break the barriers,” she said.
The FA level two coach believes sexism in sport does still exist but things are changing and the support is there from both the children and their parents.
“They respect me as a coach and they can see that I do know what I am doing so they do not question my ability or my knowledge,” she said.
She already has her eye on the proverbial ball for the new season when asked about her plans.
“To do the same damage that we have done,” she said. “I think people are scared of us now and they think I am no nonsense as well.”
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