BEC Goddard never set out to be a trailblazer in a traditionally male dominated domain of Aussie Rules.
But the 35-year-old is making a habit of breaking down barriers in the code.
Last week Goddard was announced as the Queanbeyan Tigers new opposition coach; becoming the first female coach in the North East Australian Football League.
She is also just the third woman to coach in a second-tier competition after Peta Searle at VFL club Port Melbourne and Michelle Cowan with WAFL outfit South Fremantle.
Goddard’s appointment at the Tigers marks a rapid rise through the coaching ranks.
In 2009, Goddard became the first woman to field umpire in a state league before ongoing injury concerns put paid to her umpiring aspirations.
Instead she turned her focus to coaching and has spent the past three seasons at the helm of Eastlake’s women’s side, guiding the club to three straight grand finals for two premierships.
But after receiving a call from the Queanbeyan Tigers about joining the club’s coaching staff, Goddard said the opportunity to step up to NEAFL level was a no brainer.
“Playing, umpiring and then coaching, I think I’ve achieved everything I can in women’s football so becoming involved in [coaching] men’s football was a natural progression,” she said.
“I haven’t ever gone out there thinking that I had a point to prove just because I’m a woman. I want to be the best coach I can be and the fact that I’m female doesn’t come into it.”
Born into a Canberra footballing dynasty, Goddard is the daughter of former Belconnen Magpies captain/coach Rob Goddard and the granddaughter of Magpies club legend Frank Goddard.
Immersed in football since berth, Goddard’s first job as a youngster was manning the scoreboard at Jamison Oval while keeping stats for her dad.
Since then, the police officer by day has gone on to enjoy a decorated career as player, umpire and coach.
“I’ve been involved in women’s footy for 14 years now but I’ve always been around friends and it’s always been more in a social context,” Goddard said.
“Taking on a role with the Tigers is obviously taking things to another level so it’s definitely going to be a new challenge.”
So far, no woman has ever coached at the AFL level...yet. But that’s hardly a disincentive for a woman who has never shown any fear in breaking new ground.
“Longer term the thought of being paid to coach full-time [in the AFL] is a dream job and something definitely worth shooting for,” Goddard said.