Former Sydney University Soccer Football Club women’s head coach Emily Husband has been named Liberty A-League Coach of the Year after taking the Central Coast Mariners to the semi-finals in her 2023-24 debut season in charge of the Gosford side.

Husband coached every age group and level at SUSFC during her six-year stint at the University and won the 2022 NPL NSW Women’s Coach of the Year after securing the First Grade premiership by 11 points and the Reserve Grade championship. The club also won the NPL NSW Women’s Club Championship.

Rather than rue losing her talents at the end of last season, SUSFC said it was “delighted to announce her appointment as head coach of the Central Coast Mariners A-League Women’s team on a multi-year deal”.

“She will continue in her role as head coach of Sydney Uni as well as her role as Girls’ SAP technical director and finish the season with the club before moving into her new role with the Mariners,” the club said on its website.

“Sydney University SFC is very proud of Emily’s success and fully support her move into the professional ranks. Since 2016, the club’s last three head coaches have moved to A-League Women’s clubs after winning First Grade premierships. It has always been our club’s ethos not only to develop players in reaching their potential but also coaches and support staff through our development system.”

Husband joined the Central Coast Mariners as head coach ahead of the club’s reintroduction into the Liberty A-League for the first time since 2009 and was tasked with building the Mariners squad from scratch in the off-season. She ended up leading the club to a fifth-place finish at the end of the competition proper before they bowed out with a 2-1 semi-final loss to Sydney FC.

A three-phase vote mechanism was used to crown Husband as Coach of the Year. Each head coach casts a 3-2-1 vote on all coaches. In addition, a panel of football technology and media representatives casts their votes. And there was also a fan-voted component.

When Husband was appointed First Grade Head Coach at SUSFC the club chose to trust from within by calling on their successful long-time youth coach.

“Obviously I’ve followed up from two previous coaches who got opportunities after coaching at Sydney University in the A-League,” Husband on Annabel Martin at the time of her appointment. “To then get that opportunity, I think that speaks volumes about how courageous they are in choosing who’s being first grade head coach here, but also what sort of a platform it provides for us as coaches.”

And she backed up the club’s judgement by claiming not only the Club Championship and First Grade Championship, but also taking out the 2022 WNPL NSW Coach of the Year.