Black Canadian Named First U Sports Female Football Coach

Ottawa, ON: Nadia Doucoure is a former multi-sport athlete, official and France National Team coach. Born in Paris France, Nadia is a bilingual French and Canadian citizen who has been playing and coaching football for 20 years. In France, Nadia is the only woman to be certified as a National coach for tackle and flag football. Most recently, Nadia became the first female to be hired as a Canadian university football coach at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario where she will serve as an Offensive Assistant and Receivers Coach.

As an athlete, Nadia had much success while playing flag football and rugby. In flag, Nadia played Receiver and Safety for the National team between 2002-2012, where she was a captain and named MVP at the 2006 Flag Football World Championship in Daegu, South Korea. Playing at a high level created a pathway for Nadia to become an official and coach in both tackle and flag football.

Nadia playing Flag Football. Photo credit: Football Americain.

In 2006, Nadia was hired by the National Federation of American football as Technical Advisor, where she helped to develop the women’s flag football youth program while serving as a staff member in the European and International Junior Championships. In 2009, Nadia worked for the Regional League in Bordeaux where she was in charge of club management, grant applications and player development. Nadia was also hired as a positional coach REC with ‘Le Pole Espoir’, a U-18 high-performance league in France.

Journey to Canada

As a black female in a male-dominated sport, Nadia encountered numerous challenges throughout her coaching journey- specifically the ability to retain her positions due to the lack of funding opportunities. After doing some research, Nadia secured a work visa and found herself crossing the ocean to immigrate to Canada. She arrived in Saskatoon in 2014 and immediately sought to play and coach flag football allowing her to expand her knowledge beyond American football to include the Canadian game. Facing both a language barrier and a lack of networking, Nadia soon found herself playing and coaching with the Saskatoon Valkyries, a women’s football team in the Western Women’s Canadian Football League.

After moving to Ottawa in 2017, Nadia soon began working with Ontario Football as they were looking to create a staff for a future provincial Women’s Tackle team. Nadia was hired as a positional coach for receivers and began identifying female football players across the province to select and prepare a team to compete in the National Championships in Edmonton, Alberta scheduled for the summer of 2020. Since then, Nadia has continued her NCCP coach certification through the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC). Nadia was recently selected as a mentor for the BCCA’s Black Female Coach Mentorship Program that will further provide her with networking, leadership and coach development opportunities.

The words, “football has a place for everyone” are very true in my experience. When I got hired, I was told it was a “thing.” When Coach Steve (Sumarah) told me why, I said, “Ok sure, I can be that representation. We have a lot of young women in Ontario who are wondering how they can get a job in sports.” My hope is in the future it won’t be a “thing” for women to be hired as a coach in any sport. Steve took a very big step by having a female coach on his staff, and I am grateful for the opportunity.

Nadia Doucoure on her appointment as a female U Sports Football Coach?

Nadia began her coaching duties in April, 2021.

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