Inishowen woman appointed first ever female coach for USA soccer club
This time last year Eimear Reddin was gearing up to play in the O’Neills Foyle Cup which kicks-off in the city next Monday.
However, while thousands of budding international soccer stars prepare to showcase their skills in this year’s tournament, the former Derry City Ladies winger will be on the other side of the Atlantic, having recently taken up a new post as the first female coach with Everton America in Connecticut.
Eimear, who holds two prestigious sports degrees, is hoping that the recent Women’s World Cup victory scooped by the U.S. will inspire a new generation of females to follow their dreams of professional footballing success in her adopted homeland and on home shores.
The 21-year-old Inishowen woman welcomed the rise in girls and ladies teams in the O’Neills Foyle Cup in recent years and has happy memories of participating in thetournament on two occasions while on summer vacation from college in the U.S.
Michael Hutton, Chairman of the O’Neills Foyle Cup, congratulated Eimear on her recent appointment as coach with Everton America which are currently re-branding to InterCTFC, saying he had no doubt that her story would inspire other young females to reach their potential by competing with both local and visiting pro clubs during the six-day annual football festival which began as a one-day tournament in 1992.
Eimear, whose dad Don Reddin’s coach company has ferried O’Neills Foyle Cup teams to their matches for the past 20 years, recalled: “My first memory of the Foyle Cup is Michael Hutton coming down to discuss the buses for the tournament and me asking if there was a girls’ tournament?”
Eimear’s interest in football was sparked at an early age watching matches on TV at home in Muff. However, it wasn’t long before the former Moville Community College student, an ardent Arsenal fan, was playing and scoring goals herself, also gaining a scholarship to study degrees in P.E. and coaching in the U.S.
Speaking from New Canaan in Fairfield County, Connecticut, where she is now living, Eimear said: “My family have a huge interest in football so no matter where I went there was always a ball. Mum and dad were always very supportive of my passion for football, whether it was short notice that I had been invited to participate in a tournament or, answering the phone at 3am because of the time difference, to listen to me vent about my games.”
With parents Don and Anne Marie proudly supporting her endeavours, Eimear played for QPS, Illies Celtic, Inishowen Girls’ Academy, Derry City Ladies, and Averett University in Virginia where she recently graduated with not one, but two Bachelor of Science degrees in P.E: Wellness/Sports Medicine, and Coaching.
While the talented winger showed her determination to succeed both as a soccer player and coach, the social aspect is also important and Eimear encouraged more girls and young women to take up football. “I have made so many connections through playing football and also lifelong friends.
"Getting buses to games and singing our loudest, winning/losing alongside friends, getting to travel lots of different places and to have the pleasure of playing in America are all very special memories.”
Coaching for seven hours a day in 30 degree heat at Everton America’s home ground in Norwalk, is all in a day’s work for the dedicated soccer player and coach who admitted, “My competitiveness in the sport has made me a competitive person overall in school, at work, and in life.”
Asked how she feels being appointed the first female coach of the U.S. football club, Eimear said: “It is a privilege to get working with such enthusiastic children. All of the children at the club are working hard to get better each day. Also, with the U.S women’s national team just winning the World Cup, the girls at the club are hoping to be in their shoes one day.”
Eimear extended her best wishes to everyone participating in this year’s O’Neills Foyle Cup which is one of the most heavily scouted youth soccer tournaments on these islands with high hopes of future professional stars being discovered while showcasing their skills in her native North West.