HOME > CSR > NEWS > UEFA Assist Programme, Leadership training for women held at JFA House


  │ List │  

UEFA Assist Programme, Leadership training for women held at JFA House

28 March 2023

UEFA Assist Programme, Leadership training for women held at JFA House

Japan Football Association (JFA) organised a leadership training course for women involved in football on Monday 20 and Tuesday 21 March at the JFA House as part of the UEFA Assist programme.

The UEFA Assist programme is a development programme launched by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) in 2017 to provide the experience and know-how of UEFA and its member associations to football associations worldwide. In Japan, the programme was held in 2018 and 2019 as a training course for JFA coaches. From 2020 onwards, the programme was held online due to the impact of the Corona pandemic, but in the run-up to the kick-off of the WE League, it provided a valuable opportunity to learn about marketing and promotion of women's leagues, club management, and case studies on how to promote and expand women's football. This is the first time in four years that the event has been held offline.

The two-day programme, aimed at improving women's leadership and management skills, was attended by 24 participants involved in women's football in various capacities, including players, coaches, university students, club staff and WE League and JFA officials. The programme was lectured by Ms. Priscilla JANSSENS, Mr. Chris MILNES, Ms. Eva PASQUIER, and Mr. Jarmo MATIKAINEN from UEFA.

One of the topics that UEFA and FIFA are currently actively promoting is women's leadership. It is believed that more women need to be involved in order to improve football and society as a whole. To increase awareness among the participants, IMAI Junko, Vice-Chair of the JFA Women's Committee, said the following at the start of the programme: “It is important to learn from the world. Women rarely play active roles in our society in Japan. We need to do more to address this issue, which is already being addressed in other parts of the world. We want to create a society where women's involvement is considered to be the norm.”

The UEFA lecturer introduced the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™ slogan “DARE TO SHINE” and the programme asked each of them to step out of their comfort zone to actively learn, interact, speak up and act. When the participants spoke, they were given detailed advice on how to present themselves, how to behave, and what to be aware of when speaking in front of others.

Through the programme, the participants were asked to think about their own careers in five years' time and discuss what they should do to achieve them, the external and internal barriers for women to build their own careers and how to overcome them, and the barriers for girls and women to continue playing football in Japan. During the lecture, the participants were told to “be aware of the barriers that surround you. Don't ever accept them as the norm and be honest with yourself (about what you want to do), otherwise you won't be able to break through these barriers.” They were also told that in order to break down these barriers and to achieve personal growth, they need to speak up, make more friends, and get out of their comfort zone. Participants commented that they realised that what they had thought of as external barriers might actually been internal barriers and that they would like to take action from now on.

The participants also had the opportunity to give a presentation as a group, choosing one of three themes: “How to increase the number of girls playing football in Japan,” “How to motivate women to become coaches,” and “How to make Nadeshiko Japan the world champions again.” Although they were only 15 minutes long, each group showed their individuality in the proposals they made and the way they presented them.

In addition, the UEFA lecturers shared a variety of information and skills, including the importance and tools for networking, successful negotiation, and time management. The lecturers noted at the end of the programme, “These tow days are the time to lay the groundwork for changes. We want you to continue to build on this foundation one by one, like playing Jenga. You can increase your power more than if you battle alone if you all work on deepening your relationship with those around you.” Vice-Chair IMAI Junko also expressed her hopes for the participants' future activities, saying, “I sincerely hope you will apply everything you have learned here to your future endeavours. Over the course of the two days, I also learned a lot, and the inspiration we receive from learning alongside others is enormous. If we stop devaluing ourselves more than necessary and remove the barriers that are currently accepted as normal, I think a society where women are actively participating will eventually become the new normal.”

The UEFA Assist programme also took place on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 March, where executives from the JFA, WE League and WE League clubs, as well as JFA coaches, engaged in workshops on the development of women's football.

Participants' Comments

HAYASHI Kanae (JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies)
I have learnt a lot from participating in the UEFA Assist workshop as a player. What impressed me most was the way they behaved and communicated as leaders. It really made me think deeply about what it means to be a leader. I will try to implement what I have learnt from the experiences of the UEFA lecturers and what I have learnt in this workshop, both at my club and in my future football career.

IKADAI Risa (Japan Women's Futsal National Team)
I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this valuable programme. I was deeply inspired not only by the lecturers, but also by the participants, who were all strongly motivated to improve the world of football. What we learned was not only information and knowledge, but also behaviour and things we can put into practice right away. I took part in this programme as a representative of futsal players and was able to sense that many people are working to change the environment of women's football. As a player and as an individual, I want to keep taking action, even if it is small things, for the good of the football world. Thank you very much for this valuable opportunity.

  │ List │  
The JFA Ideal

Through football, we realise the full benefits that sports can bring to our lives
the soundness of our bodies, the expansion of our minds,
and the enrichment of our societies.

The JFA Ideal, Vision, Values