Colin Bell announced as new WNT Head Coach
Bell will begin the new role on Monday, February 13 and fills the vacancy left by Sue Ronan who stepped down after six years. The English native, who has been in Germany since 1982, is due to depart SC Sand in the Frauen Bundesliga shortly, and is excited to get started.
Following a playing career with FSV Mainz 05, Bell moved into coaching where he has worked in both the men's and women's game over the last three decades, learning from the likes of current Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp and enjoying a lot of success.
In 2015, Bell guided FFC Frankfurt to glory in the UEFA Women's Champions League - having previously won the DFB-Pokal der Frauen (German Women's Cup) and brought the club back into the Champions League, as well as spending time at Bad Neuenahr - before moving on to Avaldsnes IL in Norway and back to Germany with SC Sand.
Currently 34th in the FIFA Women's World Rankings, the Ireland Women's Senior Team has yet to qualify for a major tournament and that challenge is something that attracted Bell to the job.
"I'm very proud to be given this opportunity to lead the Republic of Ireland Women's Senior Team and I regard it as a big honour," said Bell.
"I will do my very best to help women's football in Ireland continue to grow and to make it more attractive to young girls, who can have the dream of playing football at a high level.
"I want to help the Women's Senior Team to become role models for young girls to look up to and I want to instil the values of the FAI into this job as I aim to be as successful as I can be.
"It is a dream come true to be given the opportunity to become a national team coach and it is something during my 27 years coaching that I always wanted to be. Now, I'm looking forward to getting started."
FAI CEO, John Delaney, believes the appointment of Bell is a statement of intent by the Association to compete with the best teams in Europe and beyond.
"We have made huge strides in the development of women's football, particularly at underage level and with our Emerging Talent Programme, but it's time to take that next step at senior level," said the CEO.
"Recently, the FAI have made some really important appointments at international level and Colin's arrival continues that trend as we maintain our pursuit for excellence with each of our teams and to qualify for major tournaments.
"Colin will bring a fresh approach and a winning mentality, so I'm looking forward to the years ahead with Colin in charge of the Women's Senior Team."
FAI High Performance Director, Ruud Dokter, echoed those sentiments and said: "I'm very excited about the appointment of Colin as the new Women's Senior Team Head Coach.
"Colin brings a wealth of experience, having managed in the German Women's Bundesliga and won the UEFA Women's Champions League.
"It is important to note that Colin was chosen ahead of a number of excellent candidates, which shows how attractive the position was. Developing women's football is a key priority for the FAI and this appointment shows our commitment to that.
"Along with his role with the Women's Senior Team, Colin will also work closely with the Head of Women's Football and our High Performance department to connect with all clubs, leagues and all strands of women's football to further enhance our development in those areas.
"This is a new start for the Women's Senior Team and I look forward to working closely with Colin."
Women's Football Committee Chairperson, Niamh O'Donoghue, believes Colin's role is just as important to the development of women's football, as a whole, as it is to winning games at senior level.
"I would like to extend a warm welcome to Colin and wish him the best of luck in his new role. Leading the Women's Senior Team is an incredibly important duty and Colin will have the full support of the Women's Football Committee," she noted.
"The Women's Senior Team are at the highest point on the women's football pyramid and we hope that the team, under Colin's guidance, can continue to inspire the next generation of girls around the country to play football."
The Women's Senior Team will next be in action at the end of February when they take part in the Cyprus Cup - drawn into Group B alongside Czech Republic, Hungary and Wales.
The team will be back on home soil for a friendly match against Slovakia on Monday, April 10 in Tallaght Stadium. Full details will be announced in due course.