Jelina Mabon is the Shefa Women’s U-17 goalkeeper coach based at Epi High School who was also the only female goalkeeper coach engaged during the VFF National Youth League Championship.

In preparation for the role, Mabon attended a three-day goalkeeper coaching course run at Teouma Academy from 19-23 November conducted by OFC Goalkeeping Instructor James Bannatyne.

The course was run in parallel with the Southern Region Youth League Championship, which was the qualifying competition for the National Youth League.

Mabon’s charge Noeline John picked up the Best Keeper award at the 2019 National Youth League Championship, the same award she picked up during the qualifying competition.

The Ambae/Pentecost-native became involved with the Shefa team through her role as a Biology, Chemistry and Maths teacher at Epi High School.
“My interest in soccer dates back to 2006. I was playing for St. Patrick College as a forward and then later was selected in the school tem for the PESSA Games,” she explained.

“I am interested in goalkeeper coaching because most of the coaches are focusing on the ten players running around the field, but not the goalkeepers, and it is good for two coaches to manage a team so one can focus on the players, and one on the goalkeepers.”

Mabon found the goalkeeper course she participated on incredibly helpful in guiding her on the coaching journey she has chosen.

“The course helped me learn about the qualities of a goalkeeper, how to scout a keeper from the crowd and the role of a goalkeeper coach and also the role in the field of play. I also learned the key actions of a goalkeeper; how to coach a ball, how the goalkeepers should be positioned during matches. I also learned how to create session plans for goalkeeper training and how to conduct the training according to the plan.”

While the first step was taking part in the course, and actively coaching a team, Mabon has plenty more goals she wants to achieve.

“I look forward to going back to my school and running some women’s goalkeeper training sessions,” she said.

“I don’t mind that I was the only woman attending the training course. I am happy that I took the role and as the only female to be part of the course I feel it’s important. I would like to see VFF bring more women into course because today we have women’s football competitions and there are situations where girls aren’t as open to discussing with male coaches.”