kent fa conference

Kent FA Coaches Conference a great success

We recently welcomed 90 coaches and workforce from across the county to our Coaches Conference.

Coaches from across Kent come together for a wonderful evening to connect and network with others from across the county, as well as gaining insight, information and inspiration from three special guest panels of leading football experts from across the game!

On Thursday 16th May 2024 at Village Hotels Maidstone, we hosted the annual Kent FA Coaches Club, Coaches Conference & End Of Season Celebration to provide an opportunity for coaches across the county to connect, network and celebrate recognitions for coaches who have shown ongoing commitment to their learning and development as a coach throughout the season.

The 90 attendees of the event were provided with a three-course meal, including starter, mains and dessert, to accompany the order of events. Kweku Afari, professional sports broadcaster kicked off the event by hosting the first of three special guest speaker panels, with the first one focusing on an insight and understanding into creating a sustainable team environment with Ebbsfleet United FC Manager, Danny Searle and professional football manager for previous clubs such as Rangers FC, Queens Park Rangers FC and Brentford FC, Mark Warburton. The specialists shared their experiences and insight into the fundamentals that go into creating a positive first team environment, factors that need to be considered when creating the environment, understanding how to ensure that all agree and align to the environment’s standards, values and beliefs, finishing the conversation with explaining how and when to change or adapt the environment.

After the attendees had enjoyed their mains, Kweku called onto the stage, Head of Coaching (Academy) at Gillingham FC, Ebun Thomas, Head of Coach Development at Queens Park Rangers FC, Manisha Tailor MBE, 12-14s Phase Lead at Arsenal FC, Simon Copley and U9s-U16s Academy Coach at Brentford FC, Georgie Van Dijk for an insight and understanding into supporting the next generation of players. Ebun, Manisha, Simon and Georgie delved straight into the conversation by discussing the responsibility of clubs and coaches in the support that they provide to players, the various areas of support that clubs and coaches provide, identifying what support is needed and wanted in relation to the longer-term development of the players and how to adapt support for the whole team and individuals.

kent fa conference 

Following the serving of the desserts to all attendees Kweku called to the stage the final special guest speakers in former professional footballer for Charlton Athletic FC and Ebbsfleet United, Chris Solly and the newly appointed Head of Coach Development and former Millwall Lioness and England Womens footballer, Louise Newstead. Chris and Louise provided an insight into the journey through the beautiful game from a player to coach perspective. Discussions probed their first experiences of getting into the game, how the game has changed and developed over the years of being involved, the influences that have played part of their journey, how coaching first became a possibility and how they have had to adapt understanding and outlook on the game transitioning into the world of coaching.

The evenings events were concluded by formally showing recognition to coach Sarah O’Sullivan, for her high level of engagement and commitment to further learning and development through CPD in the 2023/24 season, demonstrating this through attending and achieving 25 separate incidences of CPD, making this one of the most across the county this season. Followed by recognitions to Swanscombe Tigers and Loose FC, two England Accredited Clubs who’s coaches have consistently engaged with and committed to learning and development through CPD in the 2023/24 season, which has further enhanced the fantastic coaching environment in which the clubs create and provide for their large communities of players, resulting in both clubs contributing to over 140 incidences of CPD throughout the season, making them two of the most engaged club with CPD across the county this season. Finally, graduates from the first season of the Kent FA Goalkeeper Coach Mentoring programme were welcomed to the stage to formally complete their time in the programme which provided coaches in Kent with insight, support and mentoring from goalkeeping experts both in Kent and across the country. Congratulations to Jack Wilson, Annie Brown, Darren Burton and James Baxter. We also extend our congratulations to Les Marshall and Gavin Collins who could not be there on the night.

kent fa conference

The Kent FA Coaches Club delivers high-quality Continuing Professional Development opportunities throughout each season, developing coaches across Kent to be the best that they can be. The Coaches Conference has been just one example of how members have been provided with an opportunity for further development, this season members have benefitted from the opportunity to attend over 60 events, through a mixture of Face-To-Face and Online CPD, as well as getting exclusive access to Q&A's with specialists, discounts, offers, rewards and incentives. 

The Kent FA Coaches Club runs on a season long membership for just £20, however, currently coaches can sign up for just £18 if they sign up between the 1st June and the 1st July 2024. Please be aware that you will only be able to take advantage of this early offer for just £18 until 1st July, when this will go back up to £20.

For further details on how to take advantage of the early offer or to discuss the Kent FA Coaches Club or our Kent FA CPD Offer please contact David Webb (Football Development Officer – Workforce) at

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