England Women assistant coach Beverly Priestman has been appointed head coach of the WU-18s for the 2020/21 season, following a restructure of key roles within The FA’s women’s technical division.
Priestman, who has been Phil Neville’s assistant coach since rejoining The FA in 2018 from Canada Soccer, was keen for a return to a head coaching role. The move will see her lead the squad to the postponed FIFA Women’s U-17 World Cup in India early next year.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute working with Phil and the senior squad, however the chance to be a head coach again was very important to me and my future career path. I’d like to personally thank Phil for his support in this and allowing me to make this move. This new role will see me head to my fourth U-17 World Cup, and my third as head coach, and I want to give this my best shot to bring home a trophy for England.
“I’ve had some of the best times of my career with the senior squad; we’ve shared some very special moments together and I always felt welcomed from day one. I truly believe they can go and achieve something special in the near future.”
The FA’s women’s national head coach (U-18s – U-21s), Rehanne Skinner, has been appointed Neville’s assistant coach for the 2020/21 season and will join up with the senior squad next week at their St. George’s Park training base.
At the end of Neville’s term as England Women head coach, Skinner will return to her role as head coach within the women’s professional development phase. The move reflects The FA’s commitment to providing development opportunities for its talented coaches across the pathway.
Speaking of her appointment, Skinner said:
“The opportunity to work with Phil again with the senior Lionesses is an exciting opportunity, particularly in preparation for a major tournament. It’s important as a coach to continually challenge yourself at the highest level of the game and I have no doubt that the experience will challenge me and support my role as a head coach in the Lioness pathway in the future.
“Having led the development of the U-19s and U-21s teams over the last few years it is really pleasing to see so many of them called into the senior squad and shows the exciting future of the game.
“I know many of the senior players well having worked with them at club level or in the England youth teams over the years, so I am very excited to work closely with them again at the highest level for the next 12 months.”
Mark Mason remains England Women goalkeeping coach and will now assume additional responsibility as strategic lead for The FA’s women’s goalkeeping and set-play programme across all national teams.
Leading on the restructure, Kay Cossington, The FA’s head of women’s technical, explained the purpose behind the changes:
“This is an opportunity for women’s international football to refocus and realign our resources to best meet our overall mission of winning a major tournament with sustained success. Our principles of team success and performance remained at the very heart of every decision we made through this restructure.
“We are striving to be the best in the world; clear in our vision and supported by a driven and passionate workforce. This is an extremely exciting time for the women’s game.”