"First a lot of people laughed," said Annie Zaidi. "Now a lot of people are eating humble pie for not backing me.
"I knew football was something inside me - it was like fairy dust sprinkled on me."
"She's a fantastic coach: energy, enthusiasm, dynamic - everything you want all your coaches to be," said Mark Fogarty, director of football at National League side Solihull Moors, where Annie is a coach.
"She has brought in things that nobody has done and they love her."
It is a message that is mirrored by the parents and players of the youth teams she has been in charge of.
"My son came home after the first session with her and said 'dad, that's the best training we have ever had'," said Michael, a parent of one the Under-15 team's players.
"The whole group have responded to her because they know what she's quality. I've been with Solihull Moors for two years and she's by far the best."
Under-15s striker Morgan says she is not a light touch.
"She likes to encourage us. Sometimes it's harsh, but it's a good harsh to get us working hard," he said."She's helped me improve a lot."
So what about her prospects of managing the first team in the future?
"Why not? One day - yes," added Fogarty. "I would not put anything past Annie. I think she can achieve anything she wants to."
Indeed her success at the junior level (which she still has key roles with) also earned her the role of women's first-team coach in the past season.
As for Zaidi herself? She is setting her sights high.
"There's something inside of me saying I might not get to be the national first-team coach, but I know I will get where I need to be," she said.
"I don't want to be known as the Asian girl or the Muslim girl.
"I want to be known as Annie, a really good coach."
Watch this space.
Check back in throughout May as BBC Get Inspired looks at women in grassroots sport every week as part of #changethegame.