TIA Lyons is more nervous with a clipboard in her hand than a ball at her feet.
On Sunday Lyons will coach the Wagga City Wanderers under-13s against Canberra FC in their quest to make the grand final, before donning the black and white strip in the under-17s preliminary final against Belconnen United.
Six Wanderers sides have qualified for the preliminary finals stage in the club's first National Premier League ACT season. Five of those play this weekend in Canberra, with the under-18s scheduled for next week.
Although not much older than her under-13 players Lyons, who captained Mater Dei Catholic College to their Shipard Shield win recently, says it's been a rewarding experience.
"It's been great. Even though the age gap's not that great, they definitely respect me as a coach and listen to what I have to say," she said.
"They know playing first grade (for Wanderers) and 17s throughout the year makes me a relatively experienced player.
"Probably coaching is a bit tougher (with nerves than playing) because you can't actually play, you just have to give advice to the girls and hopefully they take on board what I say.
"It (coaching) definitely opens your mind up to different things and helps with my game."
Lyons has coached the majority of her players the past two years, starting with the under-12 Skill Acquisition Program (SAP).
"I came into it with no expectations, a new competition and a few different players," she said.
"The 13s have the lowest number of out-of-town players, the majority are from Wagga which reflects that the SAP program is working."
Wanderers under-16 boys coach Michael Lucas believes his team is capable of producing an upset against runaway minor premiers Tuggeranong United on Saturday.
"We've got a plan and if it comes together we're a big chance of winning," he said.
"We've worked towards this for the last four or five years, we've always had a really strong team.
"Because of where we are in Wagga, we didn't fit anywhere and we finally got our chance in Capital (Football) this year, and we wanted to do well.
"It's a big learning curve for the boys to go from local club level to travelling every second week, and playing at a higher level every week."