Anna Signeul will step down as Scotland national coach after the UEFA Euro 2017 finals in Netherlands this summer to become head coach of the Finland national team.
Leading Scotland to their first-ever major tournament will be one facet of the Swede’s legacy after 12 years with the Scottish FA.
Anna will leave her post after the Euros and return closer to home to take charge of the Finnish national team.
Since joining in 2005, she has revolutionised the women’s game in Scotland, making the quantum leap of leading Scotland to the Finals of a major tournament for the first time.
She has also played a key role in introducing an academy system to support the development of the most talented players in the country.
The academy structure made a significant impact on both the national teams and the club game.
The work Anna led on behalf of the Scottish FA has made a huge impact on the growth of the game, supporting the development of strong sustainable clubs and supporting the development of volunteers and coaches working in the girls/women’s game.
With Anna’s support and guidance, 14 coaches made the transition from volunteers to working in a professional capacity in the game.
Anna arrived in Cyprus yesterday for the start of preparations for the European Championships – a double-header against Denmark – and informed the squad of her future plans at the team headquarters.
She emphasised that speaking to the players about her intentions now will ensure it has no detrimental impact as preparations intensify.
“Firstly, I would like to say that after 12 great years in Scotland I am proud that this squad have made the journey to their first-ever European Championships,” she said.
“This was a wonderful achievement and one that has been thoroughly deserved.
“These players are dedicated, professional and have overcome adversity to become the formidable players they are, individually and collectively.
“The support of the clubs in ensuring we continue to develop an elite environment for the players has been a really humbling experience for me.
“The volume of work undertaken by the volunteers in the clubs is immense. I would like to thank the players, clubs and parents for their support.
“Scotland and its people will always have a very special place in my heart.
“I felt it was important to clarify my future now so that we can prepare without any distractions. We have an intensive programme of fixtures and while it has been a terrific achievement to reach the finals, we are determined to go there and make an impact.
“The focus for the players and staff is on the Euro’s and we know there is a lot of work to be done to prepare the team for the tournament in the Netherlands.
“Now that I have explained to the players the reasons for leaving and taking up an offer to coach Finland, we will concentrate on making sure we are in the best condition possible for the finals.
“I would like to thank our Chief Executive, Stewart Regan and our President, Alan McRae, for their support for girls’ and women’s football in Scotland. I will leave Scotland with fond memories but I am convinced the greatest memories lie ahead in the coming months.”
Stewart Regan, the Scottish FA’s Chief Executive, paid tribute to Anna’s indefatigability in striving for the best over more than a decade at the helm.
“Anna will rightly be lauded for taking the first Scotland women’s national team to a major finals and that legacy is richly deserved. More than that, though, she has worked tirelessly and to raise standards at all levels of the women’s game and to increase opportunities for girls and women across the country.
“She has been an inspiration and I have no doubt she will burnish that legacy during the UEFA Euro finals in Netherlands.”
Malky Mackay, the recently appointed Performance Director, will begin the process of recruiting Anna’s successor, with a view to a new national coach being appointed in time to take over immediately after the finals.
“I have only been here for a few weeks but I know that Anna is highly respected within the association, among her squad of players and throughout the women’s game in general. That was apparent in my very first meeting as Performance Director, with the women’s national team at Oriam, and she will be a hard act to follow.
“That is the challenge for any potential successor but the most important aspect at the moment is to ensure Anna and her squad can focus on their preparations for what will be an exciting and, I’m sure, a successful summer ahead.”
Reported by Scottish FA
Picture: Scottish FA