Hearts assistant manager Austin MacPhee is better-travelled than most 39-year-old men from Kirkcaldy and he clocked up even more air miles this week as he jetted out to Switzerland for a FIFA-run initiative.
Austin’s playing career famously took him to North Carolina with the UNC Wilmington Seahawks, Romania with Dacia Unirea Braila and Japan with FC Kariya.
Whilst he has spent the majority of his coaching career in Scotland his experience with the Northern Ireland national team is well documented and has seen him travel the globe with Michael O’Neill’s men.
He is now taking part in a year-long Inaugural FIFA Coach Mentorship Programme which kicked off at FIFA’s House of Football in Zurich yesterday.
The initiative sees experienced football coaches partnered up with 21 female coaches in the game, looking to help develop them and afford them more opportunities in a world that is still currently too closed off to women.
In the initial two-day workshop Austin was paired with Yunjie Fan, assistant coach to the Chinese Women’s national team.
There are 17 ‘mentors’ taking part in the scheme including former England Women’s coach Hope Powell, former Clermont Foot manager Corinne Diacre, Spain Women’s head coach Jorge Vilda, and Anna Signeul, former Scotland Women’s head coach.
The programme is part of FIFA’s commitment to ensuring there is more of an opportunities for female coaches in the game by supporting them and allowing them to gain knowledge and skills that they usually would not have access to.
After the initial workshop Austin and Yunjie will continue to communicate over the next year until the culmination of the programme in November 2019.
Image courtesy of FIFA