SEVEN years after doing her work experience at Suffolk FA, Isabel Chaplin is now a member of staff.
The 22-year-old is the new part-time Girls’ & Women’s Football Development Officer.
It was in the summer of 2016 that Issy, who was then a pupil at Hadleigh High School, spent two weeks undertaking work experience at Suffolk FA.
After leaving school she went to Easton College (formerly Easton & Otley College) to do a two-year sports diploma.
Issy (pictured above) then worked for multi-activity holiday business PGL in Dorset for one season until Covid hit in March 2020.
She has since worked as a head coach in the Hadleigh and Ipswich areas for the Football Fun Factory, creating childhood football experiences for boys and girls of all ages and abilities.
Issy, who has been a member of the Suffolk Youth Council for seven years and Chair since November 2019, said: “After doing the work experience, I wasn’t exactly sure what it was I wanted to do, but I knew that I wanted to work in football.
“I was already coaching football by then so seeing behind the scenes and the administrative side gave me a different perspective to previously and so I knew I wanted to pursue a full-time career in football.”
Issy is also a Level 6 referee, meaning she referees in the Suffolk & Ipswich League and is an assistant referee in the Eastern Counties League. As a Level 2W referee she referees in the Women’s Championship and is an assistant referee on the Women’s Super League.
She continued: “Having been involved in football for many years in various roles, I am looking forward to being able to help and provide opportunities for people, and especially girls and women, within the game.
“As I have progressed in my footballing career, I have seen the girls’ and women’s game grow exponentially and I am excited to see that continue and to have the chance to add to that, so it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.
“I am also really looking forward to working with other members of the team and being able to help increase and develop girls’ and women’s football in Suffolk.”
Suffolk FA Football Development Manager Matt Stebbings said: “It’s great to have Issy on board as part of Suffolk FA. Issy will be a great addition to the Development team and help to drive Women and Girls’ football in Suffolk.
“This is a key focus for us, not only as part of this strategy but future plans to ensure Women’s and Girls’ football thrives.”