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Breaking the Grass Ceiling: A Journey as a Female Football Leader

This week, Women Onside was thrilled to receive news that our Membership and Communications Coordinator, Laura Noble, has been awarded a Northern NSW Football (NNSWF) Women's Leadership Program scholarship.

Laura shares with us how the moment marked the culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and a deep passion for her football community.

Congratulations, Laura! We heard that you have been awarded a scholarship for the NNSWF Women's Leadership Program. How does it feel to receive this recognition?

Laura Noble: Thank you so much! It feels incredible to be awarded this scholarship. It's a reflection of the effort, commitment, and love I have for the football community.

Can you tell us more about your background and experience in football?

Laura Noble: Sure! I started as a passionate community volunteer and worked my way up to various roles at a local club. Through my experiences, I recognised the need for more female leaders, especially at a grassroots level. So, after serving as secretary and registrar, I became the first female president of that club, Port Saints FC. Most recently, in 2021, I was elected as the first female director of Football Mid North Coast in over a decade.

That's impressive! How did Women Onside help you in your journey?

Laura Noble: Women Onside has been a great support for me. After attending their Getting Onboard Masterclass whilst I was club president, I was inspired to climb the football leadership ladder and nominated myself as a Zone director.

During my first two years of a three-year appointment, I have worked alongside some passionate football advocates; however, I remained the solo female voice. This mixed bag of opportunities and challenges (to say the least!) was a hard path with many battles and rewards. It’s been easier to walk this path with Women Onside though. Being a member allowed me to surround myself with voices like mine, hear their challenges and learn strategies for being that “lone feminine voice”. And now, as Women Onside's first-ever employee, I am honoured to work with many supportive and experienced football advocates passionate about providing an authentic voice for women's football.

What are your plans for the future as a leader in football?

Laura Noble: My goal is to promote diversity, equality, and inclusion within the sport. I want to empower other women to take leadership roles and build a more diverse and inclusive football community. I also want to see changes in how women are perceived and treated in football, such as more opportunities for women in coaching, refereeing, and leadership positions. Additionally, I hope to address barriers to participation and opportunities in football, especially for underprivileged communities.

That's a great vision for the future. How do you plan to achieve these goals through the NNSWF Women's Leadership Program?

Laura Noble: I plan to learn from others in the program and use my leadership position to promote diversity, equality, and inclusion within football. I believe that increasing the visibility and support for women's football can help create a more inclusive culture in sports. I am excited about this scholarship and the opportunity it provides to make a difference in football.

Women Onside are incredibly proud, and we wish you all the best in your endeavours, Laura! Thank you for sharing your inspiring journey with us and being a part of the Women Onside team.


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