Jo Hawkins smiles, leaning against a goalpost at evening football training

More Than a Game

Steph Clark
Championing a new generation of females in football

For Jo Hawkins, her love of football is rooted in family and community.

Prior to getting involved as a parent helper for her daughter’s team seven years ago, Jo had no real interest or experience of football.

Little did she know how transformative those Saturday mornings supporting her daughter’s team would turn out to be.

With no playing or coaching experience to rely on, Jo utilised her background as a Physiotherapist and Pilates instructor to help focus sessions on skills, communication and creating a positive & fun environment for an energetic and enthusiastic group of six & seven year old girls.

After only helping out initially, there came a time when the girls’ coach left the team. This is when Jo decided to step-up and take over as coach.

She obtained her coaching qualification and over the following years, as the team grew, so too did Jo’s passion and desire to support her daughter and others on their football journeys as best she could.

She committed to her own development, joining the Berks & Bucks FA Female Coaches Community to access continued professional development, support from FA Mentors and networking opportunities with other female coaches. In addition to learning how to coach, Jo took her personal development a step further and decided that if she was going to help her youth team play the game, she better learn to play it herself.

After COVID, encouraged by a friend, Jo joined a women’s social football session. This is where she really started to fall in love with the game. A return to team sports (something she hadn’t done much of since school) making friends, gaining confidence, supporting other women to thrive all added momentum to an already growing passion for the game.

A turning point came in 2022 when the Lionesses’ captured the hearts of the nation by winning the EUROs at home - an historic moment which Jo and her family were lucky enough to be part of a record attendance crowd at Wembley Stadium.

The National team’s success, seeing how far the women’s game had come and the opportunities it still has to expand inspired Jo in her role as a coach and she became determined to help grow the game further.

That dedication was recognised in 2023 when, after being nominated by people at her club, Jo won Coach of the Year (Female Pathway) at the Berks & Bucks FA and England Football Grassroots Awards.

Jo Hawkins receives the Coach of the Year (Female Pathway) Award from Berks & Bucks FA Chair, Paul Thorogood MBE

Winning the Award spurred Jo on. A huge boost to her confidence and with the support of FA Coach Mentor, Chris Berry, Jo was inspired to help more women find their place in the game and took on a role with the County FA as a Community Football Champion.

Jo believes championing women to get involved in football, ensuring there are more female role models in the sport to inspire the next generation of girls’ and women to take part, is vital to the games continued growth and success. 

Perhaps through her professional experience as a rehabilitator, or from her own personal development through football, Jo is passionate about enabling & supporting other women to experience the sense of belonging, community and enjoyment that the sport provides.

Jo’s come a long way since the days of parent-helper to a well-respected and liked coach in the football community, and she isn’t showing any signs of stopping yet.

If you’ve been inspired by Jo’s story and want to find out more about getting involved in football, whether it be through, coaching, playing or any other role, please get in touch with Richard Brant via email

Alternatively, if you’d like to find out more about the types of support and development available to coaches, please visit the dedicated Coaches section of our website.

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