Nicole Farley is a futsal and football coach in the UK, working as part of the Regional Talent Centre for Chelsea FC foundation and running her own coaching business ‘Nicole’s Futsal Finesse Training’. Over 11 years’ experience playing, teaching and refereeing futsal & football in the U.K and U.S. Nicole has also worked for?MLS New York Redbulls, LA Galaxy, Reading FC, Arsenal FC Development Centre. ?With over 30 qualifications in sport and being only the second female in the United States to attain a National Level 3 U.S Youth Futsal Coaching Certificate, its fair to say that Nicole is an a mission in the coaching world!
We recently met Nicole at our Female Coaching Conference in April 2017 and couldn’t wait to feature her on the website!
For those out there who may be unaware of what Futsal is – can you explain the sport and how it differs from Football?
Futsal originates from Uruguay, played by Messi and Ronaldo, and includes ball mastery, agility and its all inside. Futsal is different to football because you play with a heavier ball and the 4 second restart increases the speed of play, encouraging quicker decisions on and off the ball.
Often people forget that futsal is its own FIFA accredited 5-aside sport and although there are many transferable skills, you don?t need to be a football player to play it.
What is it about Futsal that drew you into to become a coach?
I grew up playing football for Reading Girls and Women FC. One of our coaches introduced Futsal to our training program. Not only did it help my first touch, game awareness and fitness, it was so much FUN! Since 2006 I have been fond of Futsal but back then many people never knew what futsal was and still to this day the majorities haven?t heard about futsal and its great benefits.
I figured that one way to get our communities talking and playing futsal is to coach it. I hope that as a futsal coach I can provide an opportunity for ALL, whereby quality futsal training may not otherwise be accessible.
You run your own coaching business, can you tell us a little bit about ?Nicole?s Futsal Finess Training?, why you decided to set it up, lessons you have learned along the way and how people can get involved?
I believe Nicole’s Futsal Finesse Training (NFFT) can bridge the gap between social inclusion, equality and creativity. F.I.N.E.S.S.E stands for my coaching and session philosophy to promote Fun, Intensity, New Ideas, Engagement, Self-Belief, Sportsmanship and Excellence.
Whether you’re a Futsal FUNdamental (aged 3 – 6), Futsal Freestyler (aged 7-10), development phase (aged 11-15), college phase (16 – 19), a futsal female (girls only), futsal active (aged 55+) or Corporate workforce looking for dynamic team building and Change management. NFFT can cater to your individual and team needs, whilst having FUN!
Until now I haven’t really given much thought that I am a business woman, I suppose I am. Every week I am learning to put myself and Nicole’s futsal out there more, not worrying about the what if’s and focusing on I can do it, go and do it mentality. I am slightly behind on branding so equally I have learnt that I can’t do it all. Growing up with an amazing single mum you learn to be self-sufficient. So now talking to people and asking for help has been my biggest transformation.
I am currently looking for 2 coaches, within South East England. If you know anyone that may have the skills, qualifications or experience to join NFFT get in touch.
Am I right in saying you have coached in the US at MLS Teams New York Redbulls, LA Galaxy how did you come to coach overseas and what comparisons with coaching at English clubs such as Arsenal and Reading can you draw from your experience?
I studied at the University of Winchester and in 2008 did camp America, that was it I caught the travel bug. 3 months, rolled into 6 months, into 9 into 3years haha. I learned about the job vacancies through work colleagues and online research, sent in my applications, travelled hundreds of miles for interviews and the rest they say is history.
I am very proud to say I have worked within these professional environments. Ultimately all integrate their Foundation, Development and Elite training programs to evolve their performance pathways coherent to their philosophy.
Have you ever faced challenges or discrimination in your coaching? If so, how have you overcome them?
Recently unconscious bias has been a topic of conversation. I couldn’t sum it up before but I think now it makes sense why I sometimes adopt a I have to prove you wrong mind set. For example one of the reasons why I wear a pro coaching kit on the first day of any coaching course is to set the tone immediately that I know what I’m talking about.
I think when people realise you are creditable they respect what you do or threatened by you. My competence through coach education and work experience has supported both of these notions.
What is your ultimate coaching ambition?
NFFT aims to inspire all members, globally, with a mentality that you can be the best that you can be if you believe in yourself, think creative and engage in a positive learning environment which delivers excellent sporting and social principles.
In football and futsal I strive to coach for the National team.
How important do you think it is that female coaches have the opportunities to get together to connect, share and develop as individuals?
Sometimes it can be lonely as a female coach, and what I mean by that is you can’t always connect or convey the message you are trying to state. An as an elite coach these numbers can be even fewer. So I think it’s really nice to have a network of likeminded females, with inspiring coaching journeys from all sports at all levels.
What lessons have you learned along your own coaching journey that you would want to share with other coaches?
I think education, preparation, connection and reflection is super important in this coaching world and in life. Sometimes it costs to invest in yourself, but if you don?t who else will, think outside the box, be proactive, believe in what you do and don?t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.
It?s true what they say surround yourself with positive people and share all of the positive things you are doing to make a difference.
Think, Dream, Visualise, Achieve.