O’Brien passing experience to next gen

Eastern Suburbs’ Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League star Tayla O’Brien has found the perfect way to pass on her experience to the next generation.

The former Junior Football Fern moved to Suburbs in 2016, having previously turned out for Lynn Avon United and Forrest Hill Milford in the Lotto NRFL, and was presented with the opportunity to coach the girls 11th grade by Mauro Donoso. 

“When I moved to Eastern Suburbs with Mauro there was an opportunity to coach some girls and I thought it was a great idea to pass on my skills and experience to young girls that want to play football and improve themselves,” says O’Brien.

That experience includes attending two FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cups and O’Brien believes her playing background, which also started as a youngster, helps her coach at this level.

“Having played football at their age before, I understand the girls and what their feelings are and how they react to certain coaching styles. I find it easy to communicate with them because I have been where they are now.”

“I try to tell all the girls to just enjoy themselves. That’s really why everyone starts to play the game, to have fun and enjoy it. I try to encourage them as much as I can and boost their confidence. If they make a mistake, that’s okay, mistakes happen in a game so I try to ensure they aren’t scared to make them.”

O’Brien says seeing the girls enjoying themselves and improving gives her the most satisfaction.

“At the start of last year I had a group of girls who hadn’t played before so for me my number one goal was enjoyment,” explains O’Brien.

“From that, it was just amazing to see them having fun, smiling, making friends and improving as well. At the end of the year we were beating teams who smashed us at the start of the year.” 

Not only is the team benefiting from O’Brien’s coaching, but she is herself with the role helping her as a player.

“I feel coaching has helped me as a player. I didn’t think it would but I feel it helps me to understand the game a bit better because when you watch games you get a better understanding of certain things that work well and don’t work well in a game. So, I have been able to take those experiences and try implement them into my game and how I play.”

O’Brien hopes to further her coaching career in the near future and she certainly has the support of her fellow Suburbs coaches to help her with that.

“I get a lot of support from the coaches I am surrounded by at Suburbs. They always offer me advice and are happy to answer any questions I have. I’m still new to coaching so it’s good that they are always there to support me.”