Championing Women in Sport: Natalie Lawrence


This feature is part of our Alumni 'Championing Women In Sport' series, which puts the spotlight on USW graduates who are kicking outdated prejudices about women in sport to the curb. Learn more about these inspirational women: Championing Women In Sport


Natalie is a Football coach living in New Zealand, she studied an MSc in Advanced Performance Football Coaching (2019-2021) almost entirely online.

What was your course like at USW?

I really enjoyed my time at USW, whilst it was difficult living in New Zealand and only being able to attend one contact course due to Covid. All the tutors we had were of the highest class and made everything enjoyable. I have spent the last 5 months working in Australia in the A League Women's for Wellington Phoenix as their assistant coach in their inaugural season.

I am now back in New Zealand working for the Phoenix still and New Zealand football with their Under 20s Women's team.

What are some of your career highlights so far?

This last season has been a highlight, being part of the first ever season for the first ever women's professional football side in New Zealand was amazing. 

The next few years I will be attending the U20s world cup and I would love to be part of the New Zealand Football Ferns world cup coaching staff when the world cup is hosted by New Zealand and Australia. 

What are your three top tips for any aspiring females wanting to go into the Sporting Industry?

Just do it, don't listen to anyone who tells you that you can't, or it's not a real is! 

Find mentors and a network of people, male or female, but surround yourself with good people. 

Be ready for it to be hard, partly because you are female but partly because the sports industry is a hard place to work, but incredibly rewarding. When you get that win, or see an athlete you have worked with succeed, everything becomes worth it!

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Always follow your dreams, it doesn't matter what anyone else says or thinks. You make your own normal!

How can the Sports Industry be more inclusive?

One main way to encourage inclusivity is to normalise women in sport more, report on them, talk about them, show them in the media and normalise that women can have any role in sport they want. Not just the usual gendered roles associated with females. Once we get more women in roles, more women are likely to be hired.

If you could have dinner with three women, dead or alive, who would they be?

Mia Hamm, she really broke some barriers for female footballers. Leanne Norman, I read so much of her research during my study and really value what she researches and how it helps females. Lisa Carrington, she has achieved so much and seems so humble with it.