Rhian Wilkinson To Join England’s Lionesses

By Ben Hamill - January 21 2021

Rhian Wilkinson To Join England’s Lionesses

Rhian Wilkinson, former assistant coach for the Canadian soccer team, having quit the position only a little over a week ago, has been hired as part of the England women’s soccer team. Wilkinson could soon face her former team at this year’s Tokyo Olympic Games, but says since the coaching selections for the Great Britain setup has not yet been finalised or announced, this isn’t yet a certainty.

Wilkinson’s decision to quit Canada Soccer had been driven by the desire to add to her coaching skills in order to hopefully coach the Canadian national team somewhere in the future. She had been serving as the head coach of Canada’s under-17 and under-20 sides, as well as assistant coach to the senior women’s team.

During her career as a player, the 38-year-old won 181 caps for Canada. 

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Camp First – Then Olympics

Once at England’s February camp, the Canadian will act as a support to interim England coach and former Norway player, Hege Riise. Joining the pair at training camp will be FA Head of Women’s Technical Development, Kay Cossington.

Both Wilkinson and Riise, with whom the former already has a relationship from the time the two played together at Norway’s Strommen, had signed short-term contracts with England’s women’s soccer team. Wilkinson said that she was looking forward to working with Riise.

The idea, so said FA Director of Women’s Football Sue Campbell, is to finalise England’s February camp before turning all attentions to the coaching staff who will be joining the national side at the Tokyo Olympics. This is so that the Lionesses’ situation can first be assessed by the Football Association, Team Great Britain, and the British Olympic Association, said Campbell in an FA statement.

Time For Many Changes

The Lionesses’ coaching staff has been undergoing several recent changes, with head coach Phil Neville having departed the team to join MLS’ Inter Miami, and Neville’s assistant coach, Bev Priestman, having done the same by joining Canada’s women’s team last November.

Also recently to leave team England had been Rehanne Skinner, who went on to join Tottenham, also in November 2020. Both Wilkinson and Riis had applied to replace Skinner. Wilkinson had prior to her team Canada departure applied for the top Canadian job but was informed she had applied too early in her soccer coaching career. It was at this point the Quebec-native made the decision to try and challenge herself elsewhere.

Wilkinson, who now lives in North Vancouver, will be departing for England soon as training camp gets underway already on Feb. 14.

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