Marilinda Winter, known as Mim to most people, was born and grew up on the Northern Beaches. Apart from school sport, she spent her childhood and teenage years dancing and acting competitively around Sydney, and it wasn’t until age 26 when she started looking for a fitness activity outside of the gym that she kicked a ball for the first time with Beacon Hill Football Club. She has played for many years now, only having breaks when she had her 2 kids (James & Sami) or due to a couple of serious injuries. She now plays for Manly Vale Football Club in the ladies over 40s competition mostly for fun and the camaraderie.
Her entry in coaching started at CC Strikers in 2011 when her son wanted to play with school friends and his U9 team didn’t have a coach.
“I hesitantly put my hand up, and whilst I understood enough about football, I was worried that the fathers in the group wouldn’t take kindly to their sons being coached by a female. As it turned out I was fully supported for four fun and successful years. Whilst its cliché, it has been a confronting ride coaching football as a female. In the earlier years I copped a lot of rudeness, disrespect and cockiness from opposition coaches, but I slowly earned my respect as a coach as my teams continued to prove themselves as worthy competitors.”
In 2016, she then coached her daughter in a W10s team at Manly Vale, and they have had a lot of success since, winning a gala day, the league, and the NSW Champions of Champions at VSP, which was an experience the team will cherish forever. It wasn’t always easy despite the team always being very competitive, and so Mim realised that she needed to learn more about coaching to extend the girls, and so at the start of 2020 she did the FFA Game Training Certificate coaching course. That year the team was undefeated, winning the league and also beating Hornsby Heights in the Champions Cup.
“My personal highlight of 2020 though was being selected as a recipient of the MWFA Female Coaching Scholarship which allowed me to undertake the FFA C-Licence coaching course, and I also took part in the MWFA Future Coaches Program. I was initially overwhelmed with the wealth of information, guidance and preparation required to be a world class coach, and completely intimidated by the array of talented coaches from various clubs in the association, but I now have wealth of knowledge and a network of incredible like minded people that I now call my friends and know I can turn to if I need any support or ideas with anything football. I highly recommend all coaches to attend MWFA courses – we are honestly so fortunate to have an association which values coaching development, headed up by the very professional and competent Eugene Lawrenz.”
2021 is a year of new challenges for Mim and her team, with her taking on an assistant coach to compliment her coaching abilities, half of the team playing in the mixed comp on Saturdays and seeing the boys respond so well to them and the girls playing so strongly, and she has also taken on a new role with Manly Vale as their CCC (Club Coach Coordinator). Mim has also been part of MWFA’s Coach Development team in 2021, helping present the first Female Only Skills Training Certificate course.
“It was a wonderful experience to work with a group of amazing women who were brave to challenge themselves to be better coaches. It would be fantastic to see more female coaches attend these courses. As for Manly Vale, I am really passionate about making the job of a volunteer grassroots coach more enjoyable and easy so their players want to keep coming back! There are so many more exciting ways to engage players at training and educate them on their core skills than to just get them running and dribbling in straight lines around cones or kicking the ball back and forth to the same person.”
Mim has now encouraged her W15 team to become assistant coaches with MVFC MiniRoos teams, with first time parent coaches really appreciating the help. The girls are learning more about the game as they teach it, and gaining a higher level of respect for the complexities of being a coach and managing a happy team.
“I certainly arrived later on the football scene, however I know I have a genuine passion for the sport, and being a football coach is such a rewarding experience. I have so much pride for these girls who only came up to my shoulder when they first joined me years ago and now tower over me.”
MWFA is looking forward to seeing Mim continue to inspire others to take up coaching and having the courage to take on new challenges.
Look out for more articles on other MWFA Future Coaches over the coming months.