Shelley Kerr has quit her role as Scotland Women’s boss.
The 51-year-old’s decision to step down comes less than a month after her side’s Euro 2022 dreams were dashed by defeat to Finland at Easter Road.
A permanent replacement is expected to be appointed before the remaining qualification group games against Cyprus and Portugal.
Historic success as manager
The SFA said: “The Scottish FA can confirm that Shelley Kerr will step down from her role as Scotland Women’s National Team Head Coach with our best wishes.
“Under Shelley’s leadership, the SWNT has achieved historic success in qualifying for last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
“Unfortunately, Scotland’s hopes of reaching a third major tournament in succession ended with defeat against Finland in the UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 qualifier at the start of the month.
“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.”
SFA chief Maxwell hailed Kerr’s impact on the Scotland Women’s national team.
He added: “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.
“She has been a proud ambassador of women’s football throughout her career: as a former internationalist with 59 caps, as the first woman to manage in the senior men’s game in Scotland with Stirling University, and of course her achievements as SWNT Head Coach.
‘She will remain an advocate for the women’s game in Scotland’
“This UEFA EURO qualifying campaign ended sooner than we anticipated and we both felt it was the right time for the national team to regroup in time for the World Cup qualifiers, and for Shelley to fulfil her career ambitions with a fresh challenge.
“She will remain an advocate for the women’s game in Scotland and we wish her the best for the future.”
Kerr – embroiled in controversy last August after admitting she had a few drinks before a heated post-World Cup team meeting that left some Scotland stars in tears – said she had fulfilled a lifelong dream by leading the national side.
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.
“At the start, we set out to inspire the nation by implementing a style of football that was both exciting and entertaining – and I believe we achieved that.
‘They’ll inspire the next generation’
“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.
“There are many variables in top-level sport and despite many challenges, the team has progressed, developed and proved they can compete on the game’s biggest stage.
“I wish them every success and will continue to cheer as a proud, passionate Scottish supporter.
“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.”