One of Football Far North Coast’s most successful clubs Byron Bay FC have appointed ex-Brisbane Roar Premiership-winning coach Belinda Wilson as their head coach for the 2020 season.
In a huge moment for the region, Wilson becomes the Far North Coast’s first-ever female coach of a men’s Premier Division team.
Wilson has also spent time coach Australia at U-17 level as well as working overseas in Norway.
“Everyone needs to have an opportunity to follow their dreams,” Wilson said.
“I dreamt that I would play for Australia but the access was not there for me to do that as a player, but as a coach I did.
“Football Associations and clubs are responsible to provide opportunities and access and I was fortunate that Byron Bay did not stop me from coaching a boy’s teams back when I first started, or the men’s team today.”
Wilson, who also works as a Women’s Football Consultant at FIFA, grew-up in Byron Bay and started her coaching career at the club at youth level.
After leaving Australia in 2006, it didn’t take long for Wilson to become one of Byron’s most successful football exports as she joined the Asian Football Confederation as Coach Education Manager for Women’s Football.
She was later appointed as the Director of Women’s Football before receiving her first full-time coaching role in Norway.
In Australia, Wilson was involved in elite football development with Football NSW, NSW Institute of Sport, Football Queensland and the Queensland Academy of Sport.
It was while in Brisbane she was appointed Head Coach of the U17 Australian Women’s National Team where they competed in the World Cup Qualifiers in China.
In 2017 she packed up again to move to Guam where she was appointed the women’s national team coach and oversaw all football development on the island as the Technical Director.
“I am happy to be home again and be in a position where I can give back to the club that gave me my first opportunity and access to coaching licences which enabled me to start on a career path that I did not see coming,” said Wilson.
“At 15-years-old Byron Bay FC gave me my first position as coach of my brother’s U6 team. It is my brother’s fault I got into coaching as I came home from school one day and he said, ‘You are my coach.’
"I told him that there was no chance as I have better things to do on Saturday mornings but mum agreed with my brother and that was the end of my Saturday mornings going surfing and hanging with friends.
“As a kid I was not allowed to play football as girls could not play in the boy’s competitions in those days, so thankfully I was able to start coaching instead.”