Wednesday 08 February 2017, 10:24

Champions League winner Bell takes Republic of Ireland reins

Colin Bell has spoken of his pride after being appointed head coach of Republic of Ireland's women’s national team.

The experienced Englishman, who won the UEFA Women's Champions League with FFC Frankfurt in 2015 and was shortlisted for that year’s FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football award, succeeds Sue Ronan in the post. Bell had told told told of his desire to become an international coach, and there was no disguising his delight at realising that dream.

"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, who has also coached Bad Neuenahr and SC Sand in Germany, as well as Norwegian side Avaldsnes IL. "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.

"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."

Developing women's football is a key priority for the FAI and this appointment shows our commitment to that.

Though Republic of Ireland have yet to qualify for a major tournament and missed out on a place at the upcoming UEFA Women’s EURO, they have steadily improved over recent years and sit 34th in the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women's World Ranking.

Bell’s appointment is seen as a major statement of intent ahead of qualifying getting underway for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, with Ruud Dokter, high performance director at the Football Association of Ireland, thrilled by the appointment.

"Colin brings a wealth of experience, having managed in the German Women's Bundesliga and won the UEFA Women's Champions League,” said Dokter. “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."