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Women's World Coach

The Candidates

  • Calle BARRLING

  • SWE
  • This year Sweden won their second UEFA European U-19 Women’s Championship, having previously lifted the trophy in 2012, with coach Calle Barrling the mastermind for both triumphs. The 62-year-old has been working within the national women’s youth set-up since 2005, but while he can now celebrate a second continental U-19 trophy, the team’s future did not look nearly so bright during qualification for this year’s tournament. Sweden left it until the final minute of their match against Italy to score the goal that secured their place at the finals in Israel, where Barrling’s squad once again demonstrated nerves of steel. The Tre Kronor were close to being eliminated in their semi-final against Germany, before netting an equaliser just two minutes from time and prevailing in the eventual penalty shoot-out. The coach then set up his team perfectly to tackle Spain in the final, leaving the Swedes’ opponents with no chance.
Colin BELL
  • Colin BELL

  • ENG
  • Colin Bell may be an Englishman abroad, but he has lived in Germany for the majority of his life, moving to the country aged 20. The former Leicester City and Mainz defender worked under Jurgen Klopp at the latter club, and is forging a reputation of his own for positive, attacking football – a victorious return to his homeland saw a 12-0 aggregate victory against Bristol Academy in the UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter-finals. This year, he followed up on his DFB-Pokal success in his opening campaign with the club by leading the side to the top of European women’s football.  The UEFA Women’s Champions League crown was secured in dramatic fashion in Berlin, with Mandy Islacker’s stoppage time winner meaning Bell became the first English coach to win a UEFA Champions League title.
  • Farid BENSTITI

  • FRA
  • The days when Lyon had everything their own way in France look to be over, thanks to Paris Saint-Germain's steady progress in recent years. The man charged with upsetting the old order is Farid Benstiti, who knows a thing or two about success after coaching Lyon for close to a decade from 2001 to 2010. The former midfielder spent two years in Russia following his OL reign but returned to France to take the PSG helm in 2012 and led the club to their first UEFA Women's Champions League final in May, a game that ended in a heart-breaking last-minute loss to Frankfurt. Benstiti was thus unable to add a European trophy to his quartet of French titles and Russian league crown, but PSG proved beyond any doubt that they must now be considered heavyweights on the continental stage.
  • Jill ELLIS

  • USA
  • Jill Ellis led USA to their third FIFA Women’s World Cup™ title at Canada 2015, marking the pinnacle of her coaching career. Ellis, who has been involved with the U.S. Soccer Federation’s women’s programme in a variety of capacities since 2000, was handed the reins of the senior side after Tom Sermanni’s departure. She had served as interim coach in 2012 for seven matches, but her appointment in 2014 was her first opportunity to lead a senior women’s national team on a full-time, permanent basis. Ellis navigated USA through a very difficult Group D at Canada 2015 with two wins against Australia and Nigeria, along with a scoreless draw against Sweden. After dispatching Colombia in the Round of 16, China PR in the quarter-finals and a resilient German side in the semi-finals, Ellis oversaw the Stars and Stripes' stunning 5-2 victory over Japan in the Final.
  • Laura HARVEY

  • ENG
  • Having led Seattle Reign to the National Women’s Soccer League final two years running, including a worst-to-first turnaround in her second season in charge, Laura Harvey was deservedly named NWSL Coach of the Year in both 2014 and 2015. A former youth English international and Arsenal Ladies manager before making the jump across the pond to coach Seattle in 2013, Harvey made the most of her talent-laden side to capture her second consecutive NWSL Shield as the team at the top of the table at the end of the regular season. The Reign were once again edged by Kansas City in the final to deny Harvey an additional piece of silverware for the 2015 season, but the 35-year-old can be commended for fine-tuning a team that included Scottish sensation Kim Little, Wales captain Jess Fishlock and recent FIFA Women’s World Cup™ champions Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe.
  • John HERDMAN

  • ENG
  • 2015 got off to the best possible start for John Herdman and his Canadian charges, as they won all three matches at the Four Nations Tournament in China; defeating Korea Republic, Mexico and the hosts by single goal margins. Two months later in Cyprus, the England-born coach lost by a single-goal to the team from his motherland in the final, having won all three group games without conceding a goal. Unfortunately for Herdman, despite topping Group A and winning a Round of 16 match against Switzerland, Canada’s English curse struck again in the quarter-finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, the tournament they hosted with such distinction. Since then the former New Zealand coach has begun to build for the future, which was reflected in his youthful selections for the Pan American games.
  • Gerard PRECHEUR

  • FRA
  • Sometimes it is harder to stay at the top than to get there. Gerard Precheur's task on taking the Lyon job was to maintain the club's domestic dominance following Patrice Lair's departure and to steer them back to the European summit. He kept the first part of that bargain in his maiden season by clinching a superb league and cup double, despite increased competition from Paris Saint-Germain. Lyon's continental adventure was short-lived, on the other hand, with PSG stunning their rivals in the last 16 – a defeat that has no doubt left the former head of the women's football section at the French Football Federation (FFF) eager for revenge. Precheur also served on the technical staff of France's men's team from 2009 to 2014, a role that involved working closely with successive coaches Raymond Domenech, Laurent Blanc and Didier Deschamps.
  • Mark SAMPSON

  • WAL
  • The year 2015 will certainly be one to remember for Mark Sampson, who only turned 33 in October. During the year, the Welshman led England to victory in the Cyprus Cup but most notably to a third-placed finish at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, his first major tournament in charge. This achievement made all the more remarkable considering that prior to his appointment, England had never won a match beyond the group stage in the tournament. Another notable first was achieved at Canada 2015; the Three Lionesses victory over Germany in the match for third place marked the first time that they had beaten their European rivals in 21 attempts. Their successes in Cyprus and Canada also propelled England to fifth in the FIFA Women’s World Ranking, their highest-ever position since the system was introduced in 2003.
  • Norio SASAKI

  • JPN
  • Japan coach Norio Sasaki once again lifted Japan to a major world final, only for the Nadeshiko to fall one game short of their extraordinary achievement of four years ago as USA turned in a performance of rare quality to win the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final. Reaching a third successive global decider – following on from Germany 2011 and the 2012 London Olympics – is a considerable achievement in the increasingly competitive world of international women’s football. Sasaki’s side were perhaps light on star power at Canada 2015 but, to his credit, they are perhaps unsurpassed for team cohesion. Sasaki’s undemonstrative and cultured manner on the sideline is reflected in his team who play with trademark efficiency and poise.
Thomas WORLE
  • Thomas WORLE

  • GER
  • Thomas Worle has been in charge of Bayern Munich’s women’s team since July 2010. Having already won the DFB Cup back in 2012, the 33-year-old pulled off an even bigger coup in 2015 by guiding FCB’s women to their first ever championship title after an undefeated season in which they recorded 17 wins and five draws. The head coach’s secret weapon has been his preference for compact team performances, with his team conceding just seven goals in 22 games. Their success was made all the more historic by the fact that Bayern Munich became the first club to have concurrent champions in both the men’s and women’s Bundesliga. Worle and his team carried their momentum from last season into the new campaign, combining their latest title challenge with their first appearance in the UEFA Women’s Champions League.