Shelley Kerr leaves role as Scotland Women's manager

Shelley Kerr has stepped down as manager of the Scotland Women's team after discussions with the Scottish FA.

Shelley Kerr led Scotland to the World Cup in 2019. Picture: SNS
Shelley Kerr led Scotland to the World Cup in 2019. Picture: SNS

The team failed to qualify for the UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 – now being played in 2022 – earlier this month when they lost to Finland in a qualifier at Easter Road. The loss left them third in the group, seven points behind second-place Portugal, with two fixtures remaining.

It means Scotland won’t be at a finals tournament for the first time since 2015 having reached the Euros in 2017 and World Cup in 2019.

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The former success was achieved under former manager Anna Signeul, while Kerr led the team to the latter tournament in France.

A statement from the SFA said: “With two group matches remaining to be played, against Cyprus and Portugal, in February - and following discussions between Shelley and Ian Maxwell, the Scottish FA Chief Executive - it was agreed by both parties that the timing was right to allow a new Head Coach to begin preparations for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 qualifying campaign.”

‘Deeply disappointed but proud’

Kerr was appointed Scotland boss in 2017 after nearly three years with Lowland League side Stirling University.

She said: “Naturally, I am deeply disappointed that we failed to qualify in our recent UEFA EURO qualifying campaign. There were huge expectations surrounding the whole team, based on our recent successes, but I couldn’t be prouder than to have led the team - as well as the team behind the team - to the Women’s World Cup.

“I thank the Scottish FA and all who supported me in fulfilling my dream of leading our country to the World Cup finals for the first time. I am privileged to have played a part in such an historical moment in Scottish football. That is something that will live with me forever.

“I have lived and breathed the sport for as long as I can remember, so I know in my heart that the time is right for a new head coach to take the team forward to the next campaign. I dedicated almost four years to the role as national coach. Having spent my life in football and worked at every level of the pathway, it has been the pinnacle to date to get the opportunity to work with such a fantastic squad of players.

“I would like to thank the players and support staff who have given their time, expertise and professionalism in the overarching quest to play on a European and world stage. It’s a huge testament to the squad of 40 players who have been instrumental in raising the profile of girls’ and women’s football in Scotland. I know they will continue to inspire the next generation.

“I know the timing is right for me to look ahead to the next chapter, to face new challenges and to create and enjoy more amazing experiences on my journey.”

Maxwell added: “Shelley’s impact on the Scotland Women’s National Team cannot be underestimated. We are thankful for her contribution in leading the team to historic success in qualifying for the Women’s World Cup, and for the dedication and commitment to advancing the women’s game at all levels.”