Marc Skinner: Birmingham City Women boss to exit and set to join Orlando Pride


Marc Skinner will take charge of Birmingham’s WSL game against Bristol City on Sunday

Manager Marc Skinner is leaving Birmingham City Women and is expected to take on one of the biggest jobs in women’s club football at Orlando Pride.

Before his exit, the 35-year-old will take charge of Sunday’s Women’s Super League match against Bristol City.

Skinner took over at Blues in December 2016 and led them to the FA Cup final and a fourth-placed finish in 2017.

Pride’s squad includes Brazil’s six-time World Player of the Year, Marta, and USA co-captain Alex Morgan.

He will replace vastly experienced Scot Tom Sermanni, who left Orlando Pride at the end of the 2018 season.

The Florida outfit are craving success, having finished a disappointing seventh last year after a third-placed finish in 2017.

Blues thanked Skinner for his “hard work, enthusiasm and inspirational coaching” and said his next club will be confirmed in due course.

Restoring Pride

Despite having World Player of the Year Marta (centre) in their team Orlando could only finish seventh in 2018

Orlando Pride play in the largest stadium in the National Women’s Soccer League – the 25,500-capacity Orlando City Stadium – and, although their average attendances cannot match those of west-coast-based Portland Thorns, Pride are nevertheless one of the best-supported women’s sides in the world.

Skinner’s move continues a trend of US sides appointing English coaches and will see more than half of the nine clubs in the world’s biggest women’s league managed by English coaches.

Englishman Paul Riley is in charge of champions North Carolina Courage, with Laura Harvey coaching Utah Royals, Liverpool-born Richie Burke managing Washington Spirit and England-born Mark Parsons having been the head coach of Portland Thorns since 2015.

The 2019 College Draft for the NWSL was held on Thursday. Pre-season training is then expected to begin from 4 March, before the first matches of the American season on 13-14 April.

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