W-League Premiership winner and former Australian U 17 coach, Belinda Wilson has been appointed as the Byron Bay Services Club Rams’ head coach for 2020 season.
Wilson is the Far North Coast’s first-ever female coach of a men’s premier division team. She will also continue in her role as a women’s football consultant for FIFA.
It’s a homecoming for the former Brisbane Roar coach who grew-up in Byron Bay and started her career by coaching her younger brother’s team from U/6s through to U/13s.
After leaving Australia in 2006 Wilson joined the Asian Football Confederation to become director of women’s Football. She took her first full-time coaching role in Norway.
In Australia, Wilson was involved in elite football development with Football NSW, NSW Institute of Sport, Football Queensland and the Queensland Academy of Sport. It was while in Brisbane that she was appointed head coach of the U/17 Australian Women’s National Team who competed in the World Cup Qualifiers in China.
‘I am happy to be home again and be in a position where I can give back to the club that gave me my first opportunity and access to coaching licences that enabled me to start on a career path that I did not see coming,’ said Wilson.
‘As a kid I was not allowed to play football as girls could not play in the boy’s competitions in those days, so thankfully I was able to start coaching instead.’
Wilson says that gender should not be a barrier to coaching and hopes her appointment will inspire another generation of female coaches to come from the Far North Coast.
‘I dreamt that I would play for Australia but the access was not there for me to do that as a player, but as a coach I did.
‘Clubs are responsible to provide opportunities and access, and I was fortunate that Byron Bay did not stop me from coaching boy’s teams back when I first started, or the men’s team today,’ she said.