From there, Carly relocated to Surrey and went to coach at Fulham in their Centre of Excellence in what was a big step up for her in the coaching world.
“I realised then the level of the more elite football, some very good coaches there as well, Michelle Jeffcoate was big female role model and Amy Price who is now a national coach developer who was a few years younger than me but such a professional and role model.
“I was in with some really good people who kind of mentored me a little bit. We trained at Motspur Park and it was definitely a step up in what was essentially the equivalent of what today is the Regional Talent Clubs.
“I stayed there until Fulham lost their license and had a reshape, I then moved down to Brighton as a coach at their Centre of Excellence for a season; but with Fulham we continued to operate a player development centre, for another two seasons.
“Fulham had been on such a high and were one of the first fully funded professional women's sides, they'd won The FA Cup two years running (2001-02 & 2002-03), with some really talented players coming through.
“I started to see a real change and things were very positive, but the most disappointing thing was that those licenses could be taken away so easily and that's what happened.”
Carly had a career break at this point when she fell pregnant with her first son before eventually securing a job with The FA. Her laughter at this point suggests there was more to the story!
“When I was still at Watford I had applied for a job as a Skills Coach full-time with The FA, I got really far in the interview process, but it wasn't quite the right fit.
“I saw another job advertised, again as a Skills Coach, I'd had a little bit more time to embed my football, I'd done the FA Youth Awards with Fulham, and I thought I'd apply again.
“I got an interview but the day before, I found out I was pregnant! So, I knew I couldn't really go for it but also didn't think I could say why, so I just said it wasn't the right fit.
“I didn't expect the job to come up again, and that even if it does I'm probably blacklisted by now! But then a job did come up and I got it, so started full-time as a Skills Coach with The FA.
“We had an induction at St. George's Park, and I worked with some really great coaches. Worked in and around Sussex, but Surrey as well.
“I did it for four-and-a-half-years, had my second son whilst doing that job, then linked in with the County FA and got to know the staff well.” A relationship that has continued and years later Carly coached the successful Sussex Womens Rep squad for 3 seasons. Then in 2019 becoming a FA mentor working in Sussex for the National FA.
The work she did with The FA Skills Team you can tell is a period Carly is immensely proud of. “I had worked hard up to this point, but I had also worked for free and for little money,” she says.
It was something she had worked towards, and something she was going to leave her mark on.
“A lot of the work I did with The FA was increasing female participation in football, so for example in Sussex, we had areas that just didn't have girls playing football.
“Our key areas at the time, going back to around 2013, were around Bognor, Rustington, Uckfield, and also the Lancing/Worthing area as well.
“I remember going into Bognor and going into every boys’ grassroots club, walking into a field and there being about two girls amongst a huge amount of boys. I went to the different chairmen and asked if they'd thought about setting up a girl’s section, which they hadn't.
“I was also going into schools teaching P.E. and supporting teachers in different ways we could get girls involved with football. I would get them into our skills centres which was basically a holding pen if you like, and we'd then feed them into grassroots clubs.
“The bonus of it was that girls would experience some casual football to start off with before going to a club, a bit like Wildcats today.
“It was also about putting girls in the right environment and that might have actually been to go into a mixed team, but we would also try and create girls’ teams for them to go to as well. Off the back of that, Rustington, Felpham Colts, these clubs started getting female teams, and form female sections.”
As much as Carly has spent time developing young girls and getting them into football from a playing perspective, she believes it is equally important to see more young coaches as well.
“One thing during the UEFA Women's EUROs, it was great to see at events like the roadshow, how many young female coaches there were.
“I think in the same respect, it's great to have people like myself, Sharon Muxworthy, people that are a bit older and have had careers as coaches. But I'd also hope that some of these younger girls will see it as a career now and will see it as a pathway for them to go down.
“For me, that would be a big win. Growing up, full-time jobs in football were very rare for me, and hard to come by. We've had a lot of females come through the Playmaker course; I think 200 in the last 18 months in Sussex. It's then about supporting them in whatever path they wish to take.
“Some may just want to do their Level 1 and that's enough for them, but some also might want to go through their badges and look to have a career in football.
“It's important that we support both of those angles but appreciate they may be on different paths. In the last few months alone, there's some I have seen with real potential; whether they want careers in it or not, there are some really talented ones coming through.
“There's a 15-year-old girl volunteering at Southwater Royals and is really keen to jump on and get a Level 1 when she turns 16. She's a really talented girl that's already got hours on the grass. On the back of the success of the Lionesses, I'm hoping that some of the barriers I faced, will have been lifted.”