Casey Stoney hired as first head coach of San Diego NWSL team

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MARCH 27: Casey Stoney, Manager of Manchester United walks on the pitch at the end of the match after the Barclays FA Women’s Super League match between Manchester United Women and West Ham United Women at Old Trafford on March 27, 2021 in Manchester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego’s National Women’s Soccer League club has appointed former England player and Manchester United Women’s manager Casey Stoney as the first head coach in history, the club announced Wednesday.

Stoney, 39, joins after managing Manchester United in the FA Women’s Super League since 2018. She led Manchester United to 52 wins in 77 competitive matches and secured promotion with the 2018-19 Football Association Women’s Championship title in her inaugural season with the club.

“Casey is one of the most decorated, distinguished and talented English players of all time and has transitioned seamlessly in her role as a manager,” said San Diego NWSL President Jill Ellis. “She immediately turned Manchester United Women Football Club into respected contenders and established herself as one of the top managers in the league.

“Casey has all of the qualities we want in our manager and she is fully committed to making San Diego NWSL a globally successful club and brand led by powerful and talented women,” Ellis continued. “We are thrilled to secure her as our manager and look forward to what she will bring to our club and city.”

NWSL San Diego is the 12th and newest club in the National Women’s Soccer League. The club’s name, crest and permanent venue will be announced at a later date.

Stoney led her side to the 2018-19 Football Association Women’s Championship title and secured promotion to the FA Women’s Super League in her first season with the club. In the FA WSL, Stoney earned 22 wins in 36 league matches and led her team to two consecutive fourth-place finishes in their first two seasons in England’s top-flight league.

“I am extremely excited and motivated to lead San Diego NWSL on the field next season and beyond,” Stoney said. “Jill and this ownership group are deeply committed to building a world-class club both on and off the field and I look forward to being a part of creating our culture and style of play as a team.

“I am eager to begin work immediately ahead of our inaugural year of competition in NWSL next season,” she concluded.

As a player, Stoney was one of England’s most decorated and successful members of the England Women’s National Team, making 130 appearances internationally while appearing in three FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments from 2001 through 2017 in addition to appearing in the 2012 London Olympics. Professionally, she represented Charlton Athletic, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Lincoln throughout her career in England, making over 100 appearances competitively.

In 2008 and 2012, Stoney was honored as England’s top international player when she received the FA International Player of the Year Award. She also led her teams to four Women’s FA Cup titles — 2001, 2005, 2014, 2016 — four FA Women’s Premier League Cup titles — 2000, 2001, 2004, 2006 — and three FA Women’s Community Shield victories — 2000, 2001, 2004.

LEIGH, ENGLAND – MAY 16: Casey Stoney, Manager of Manchester United looks dejected after the Vitality Women’s FA Cup 5th Round match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Leigh Sports Village on May 16, 2021 in Leigh, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

The appointment of Stoney follows the announcement earlier this week of Molly Downtain as the first general manager in club history. It completes the hiring of two significant technical positions in the club hierarchy as the team prepares to begin play in Spring 2022.

The National Women’s Soccer League is a 12-team women’s professional soccer league featuring national team players from around the world. The clubs are the Chicago Red Stars, Houston Dash, North Carolina Courage, Orlando Pride, Portland Thorns FC, OL Reign, NY/NJ Gotham FC, Kansas City, Washington Spirit, and Racing Louisville FC. Based in Chicago, the NWSL partners with the Canadian Soccer Association and the United States Soccer Federation.

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