Matheson, a new start to develop women’s football

  • Former Canadian international Diana Matheson participated in the Women in Football Leadership Program

  • This program has far exceeded his expectations

  • “With more female leaders, football will be stronger,” she said.

With 206 caps, three appearances in the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, two bronze medals in the Olympics and numerous trophies with Canada, Diana Matheson has a well-filled resume. At the age of 38, the former explorer is now looking to her post career since she hung up her boots last July. “I had a great career, but also a few injuries, so I decided to stop. I have since resumed my studies, which I devote myself to full-time,” she confides.† “I’m trying to learn as much as possible about football and its ecosystem so that I can clear the ground for my next activities. I know I want to be part of the world of women’s football, but I don’t know yet what role I will play. “

In this quest, the former international can count on the support of UEFA’s Program for the Promotion of Women in Management Positions in Football, which is already in its third edition. “I don’t really know what to expect, I think we’re all in this case,” admits the former midfielder, author of the bronze medal goal at the 2012 London Games. “I had great instructors. Everyone had already had leadership training, but the level of teaching was extraordinary. If only because we brought together 30 women from all over the world to discuss their respective situations. In many ways, each of our trajectories is unique, but we also have so much in common because we are all involved in the development of women’s football. The program has far exceeded my expectations.”

In Canada, the football landscape still lacks professionalism. There is no championship, no professional team. I returned to my studies in the hope of contributing to the professionalization of sport in my country.

Diana Matheson, former Canadian international

Matheson was characterized by meeting participants from all walks of life, who are a source of inspiration for her, especially those from the Middle East or Africa, where the struggle for the development of women’s football faces challenges from a completely different nature than in Canada. “It was very stimulating. I was able to connect with women from all over the world, who are all committed to the same cause. I know that I will be able to contact them in the future, when I come to the foreigner I can seeing them again to talk about our lives and football.” Establishing and developing a network is one of the pillars of the program to promote women in management positions in football.

Former Canadian International Diana Matheson Joins WFLP

What are the qualities of a good leader and how does she differ from others? For Matheson, it’s through certain skills that are developed on and off the field. “When you think of leadership, you think of a charismatic leader and a leader who gives voice. But that is far from the reality. One of the points we were reminded of during the program is the importance of authenticity. “stay true to who you are and make sure you always act authentically, because others can see when you’re not. There are a thousand ways to lead, but you must always be true to yourself,” explains the Canadian. “We were also reminded of the importance of knowing your strengths, but also that in certain circumstances our qualities as leaders can become shortcomings. to build on points, but also know how to separate yourself from them if necessary.”

Matheson is convinced that the more women there are in leadership positions in football, the more prosperous it will be. Notable progress has been made over the past decade, reflecting the travels of Sarai Bareman (FIFA Women’s Football Director) and Nadine Kessler (UEFA Chief Women’s Football Officer). “Everything is moving so fast. The next ten years will be exciting,” says Matheson enthusiastically. “I just got back from vacation in Costa Rica, the host country of the next FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, and the airport televisions were showing women’s football. Ten years ago, you never thought there could be women’s football on TV in Costa Rica “You see it everywhere these days. The gap between men’s and women’s football is narrowing. It can only be good for our discipline.”

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