While the upcoming OFC Women’s Nations Cup will put female talent on display, the tournament also serves as an opportunity off the pitch for female coaches like Katie Barrott.  

Barrott recently accepted her role to become an assistant coach for the national Samoan women’s team after being approached by head coach Paul Ifill.

She currently works as a Development Officer at the Capital Football Federation in Wellington, New Zealand where she started her coaching journey. Now in her second year coaching with the Wellington Phoenix Academy, she’s ready to take the next step in her career.

“I am absolutely taking up this tournament with both hands,” Barrott said.

“I hope that throughout the competition I can learn off various staff around me in other areas such as analysis, session design based on opposition and management during an international tournament.

“Understanding how a qualification tournament like this can be is really important in my own coaching career so I am looking forward to learning as much as I can.

“I’ve traditionally coached in development spaces and it is incredibly rewarding and positive. However, while it’s about developing players, it is also about performing and doing whatever we can do to qualify for a World Cup.”

Increasing the capacity of girls and women falls under the education pillar of the ALL IN: OFC Women’s Football Strategy 2027, and Barrott isn’t the only female coach on tour.

Head coaches such as Lisa Cole (Fiji), Nicola Domaine (Papua New Guinea) and Stéphanie Spielmann (Tahiti) to name a few will also feature at the tournament.

“I think like any workplace, it is important to have a diverse range of people including men and women, it brings together the best team,” Barrott said.

“More specifically though, as a female in the female game I think I can add some level of understanding of what it’s like to be in their positions, what style of coaching is most relative and how to best motivate them.

“For me I was inspired to start my coaching journey because I had female coaches myself and it’s showing players the possibilities that coaching is a real option for them as they exit the game.”

OFC Women’s Football Ambassador and player for Samoa Torijan Lyne-Lewis said Samoa have recognised what’s needed for female footballers.

“It’s really important for us women to not only have direct coaching staff but other support we can lean on,” Lyne-Lewis said.

“It’s really cool to have female representatives, we’ve got that good team culture as well.”

Samoa will play their opening match against Tonga on July 13 at 7.00pm NZT in Fiji followed by the Cook Islands on July 19. Click here to watch.