coach mentoring

FA Coach Mentor Programme

The FA sees the development of coaches as central to the development of the game, and working collaboratively accelerates learning and supports coaches’ development. 

The programme offers club and individual opportunities for support from an FA Club Mentor, providing targeted support to challenge coaches to excel in their work and enhance their coaching standards. The aim is to support the coaching workforce not only with their training sessions but also how they translate their coaching to match day situations. This season we have transitioned into a geographical model, placing our mentors across the county who will be able to support coaches and clubs with their area on a needs-led basis.

Coach Mentors will work with specific projects, supporting:

  •  FA Charter Standard Clubs
  • Specific target groups (BAME, Female and Disability)
  • Grassroots Clubs
  • Football Leagues
  • Coach Education in a Mentoring capacity

Mentoring support at a club could include:

  • Developing a whole club philosophy
  • Group coaching demonstrations
  • 1:1 coaching, match-day observation and support
  • Signposting to relevant courses and events
  • Needs analysis for individual coaches
  • Modelling of coaching sessions for individual coaches
  • Individual feedback
  • An individual learning programme

The aims of the Mentoring programme are to;

  • To  mentor and support coaches working in Grassroots football
  • To improve the standards or grassroots coaching through observation, feedback and action planning
  • To work with Clubs to provide bespoke support linked to their coaches needs through either individual, small group or club based events
  • To support coach development, focusing upon the knowledge, skills and attributes to be an effective coach
  • To support and develop planning – delivering and  reflecting skills
  • To support coaches with mentoring in their clubs to ensure a legacy of coach development in clubs across the county

Get In Touch

Megan Buller

Football Development Administrator

01458 832 359 Option 2

07718 477 540

Register your interest to receive support from the coach mentor programme below:

Register my interest




Mentoring in Somerset
Here in the county we have 6 FA Coach Mentors supporting coaches within the grassroots game, meet the team below. 
In 2018/19 the team delivered 682.5 hours of mentoring, representing an investment of £17,065 to support grassroots coaches in Somerset.

meet the somerset fa coach mentoring team:


I became involved in the Coach Mentor programme to provide children and young players with the best experience possible through football; this involves working with individual coaches, clubs, leagues and the Somerset FA to enable player experiences to excel. The more our children enjoy the game, the longer they will stay playing leading into further involvement through coaching or even coach mentoring.

geoff stevens 3

I have been involved with the coach mentoring programme for the past 3 seasons; it is something I feel is very rewarding in terms of helping develop coaches and support grassroots clubs. In my other roles as FA affiliate tutor and head coach with Bristol City Community Trust, I feel I have a lot to offer in terms of support and advice. Not only can I support those that are at the beginning of their coaching journey but also those who feel they need support with CPD and other areas of coaching. Having been involved with a variety of grassroots clubs throughout the county in various capacities from playing, refereeing and coaching I hope that we will continue to see the development of these clubs and coaches through this programme.

leah poole

Leah Poole - Leah has Coached at a variety of grassroots & elite clubs, schools and colleges (PE teacher in primary schools and also at special needs schools). She is an FA Affiliate Tutor for Primary Active Literacy Programme and Safeguarding

Leah has also:

  • Spent 2 years coaching at Yeovil Town Ladies with FA WSL development squad and then FA WSL 2 first team.
  • Coached at Girls ACC and Cerebral Palsy Regional Talent Centre.

She is currently coaching South West Cerebral Palsy United FC Senior (Mens) & Junior (8-16) Squads, Yeovil Town Player Development Centre and Advanced Goalkeeper Center (under 8's - under 12's).

She has a special interest in supporting female coaches and the female game along with coaches working with disability teams and successfully won McDonalds UK Football Mum of the Year in 2015. 

She is very passionate about helping coaches to give every player opportunities to access fun, engaging and progressive football, allowing them to become the best players that they can be. 

To contact Leah please email:

lee ballard

The Mentoring role has given me an excellent opportunity to continue my learning journey, and to work with the fantastic and extensive grassroots Football workforce within my region. I am currently a sports lecturer delivering various coaching modules to our BTEC and Degree students at Richard Huish College and I have been involved with the Somerset FA disability coaching programme for 4 years; alongside studying for my doctorate at UWE. The Mentoring programme has allowed me to meet some fantastic people who are very interested in sharing good practice, and being a part of their development is extremely rewarding.

 mo hopkins fa coach mentor

Wearing a number of different caps at Somerset FA, Somerset County Schools FA, Taunton District Schools & Team BTC/Bridgwater & Taunton College. I support player development alongside dedicated staff, also looking to develop their skills. 

Having also had previous roles in junior, senior and professional football, I’ve always appreciated the role The FA has played. They’ve underpinned the continual growth of football within the UK for players and also many other non-playing roles. 

The South West is as vibrant an area as any in the country, and I’m looking forward to supporting that alongside other people coaching.

phil smith

I have been coaching locally for the last 15 years and have been involved with the FA Mentor Programme for the last 3 seasons. I am extremely fortunate as I work within football every day. During season 2016/17 I have worked with two local clubs, I also coach two teams.

A single concept underlying the mentoring programme appealed to me, I believe in this and can relate to it: ‘Better coaches = Better players.’ 

Can I be a better coach? Yes, but even more importantly I strive to be a better coach. Can we all be better? Definitely. Working collaboratively is one approach which can be very effective.

With this notion as a starting point, it makes perfect sense to push on, challenge ourselves and try to be the best coaches we can be for the benefit of the players, the wider game and not forgetting ourselves. My view is: Where we are in our coaching journeys at this moment in time has some relevance, but where we're going is way more important.

I enjoy meeting coaches, both experienced and those at the beginning of their coaching journeys. Shared practice is best practice - we can all learn loads from each other, let’s do our best to raise standards locally, regionally and nationally.

stu kennard 

As a coach mentor I feel it is a great opportunity to work with some of the fantastic coaches across Somerset. With the aim to support and improve the quantity of children loving the game of football for years to come. I am a big believer that if children enjoy the game they will develop more as players and people, if as coaches we can work together to get the players enjoying their game i am sure we will drive the game.

I have enjoyed being a coach for a number of years across Somerset with a variety of roles and levels, my aim is to keep enjoying coaching and developing myself to provide the best chance for the players of Somerset.

Register your interest to receive support from the coach mentoring programme below:

Register my interest


No. The FA Coach Mentor programme is a free FA initiative where a Coach Mentor can offer up to 100 hours of support per season.

Clubs that are keen to develop a positive coaching ethos, philosophy and develop their own in-house mentoring/coach support system.

Coaches can utilise this opportunity to start a legacy of positive coaching within their own clubs.

The FA Coach Mentor Programme is also committed to providing 5000 hours per season specifically to work with BAME, female and disabled coaches across the country.

If you are a BAME coach or working with BAME coaches/players and would like some support from one of our Coach Mentors, please contact Steve Smithies with your name, club name, age group and the County FA that you are affiliated to –

If you are a female coach or working with female coaches/players and would like some support from one of our Coach Mentors, please contact Samantha Griffiths with your name, club name, age group and the County FA that you are affiliated to –

If you are a coach with a disability and would like some support from one of our Coach Mentors, please contact Kevin England with your name, club name, age group and the County FA that you are affiliated to

If you are interested in becoming an FA Coach Mentor please check our website for vacancies. If no vacancies are available contact the Regional Coach Mentor Officer in your region who can provide an update of the programme in and around your area.

Please note that there two application periods throughout the season - June and December.

Pre-requisites to become an FA Coach Mentor are:

  • Minimum FA Level 2 in Coaching Football
  • Member of The FA Licensed Coaches Club
  • Valid FA Criminal Record Check

North West – Steve Smithies –

North East – Graeme Carrick –

East Midlands – Samantha Griffiths –

West Midlands – Andy Somers –

East – Darren Moss –

South East – Kevin England –

London/ Armed Forces/ Jersey/ Guernsey – Kevin Green –

South West – Ciara Allan –


Coaches4Coaches is a group of coaches who get together to discuss Football, Coaching and how we can improve the experience for players.

The group, facilitated by FA Coach Mentor, Phil Rochford Smith, rotates around different football clubs in North Somerset with the coaches leading the content.