London, Ontario - On August 3, Fanshawe professor Linda Whitehead will travel to
India to volunteer her coaching expertise to female participants in Discover Football
- a women's football (soccer) and cultural festival in Goa, India.
In India, football is a male-dominated sport and women and girls who play the sport
face various challenges. The festival, 'Our Bodies, Our Rights, Our Game,' is about
a lot more than the sport.
"The event's name shows that we aim to link women's football with the greater struggle
for women's rights, sexual and reproductive health rights and gender equality,"
say the organizers from Discover Football. "We are looking forward to meeting the
players and learning about their experience of using football to challenge restrictions
on mobility, policing of clothing and women's bodies."
For one week, eight teams of 80 women will attend workshops on empowerment and technical
skills. Professor Whitehead and a team of international female coaches will team
up with Indian coaches for the tournament.
"I have spent most of my life connected to soccer as a player, coach, administrator
and educator, in volunteer and professional roles. The game has always given me
more than I can give back," says Ms. Whitehead. "I see this opportunity as another
chance to share my experience in a positive, educational manner. I am excited to
take part in such an empowering festival for young women and coaches in India."
Ms. Whitehead has an A License from the Canadian Soccer Association and M Ed in
physical education with a specialization in coaching. She spent 10 years working
with Ontario Soccer (OSA) on technical committees and as a Master Learning Facilitator
(coaching and mentoring coaches) and facilitating Canadian Soccer Association coaching
Professor Whitehead leaves for India on Wednesday, August 3 and returns Friday,