Bev Priestman, who spent five years developing Canada’s next generation of soccer stars, is returning to take charge of the senior women’s program as it chases a third consecutive Olympic medal next summer in Tokyo.
Priestman succeeds Kenneth Heiner-Møller, who announced in July he was stepping down to rejoin the Danish Football Association as head of coach education.
With Priestman’s hire, Canada Soccer opted for a coach with strong ties to the national program. The women’s team is ranked No. 8 in the world.
The 34-year-old native of Consett, England, spent five years serving as director of Canada’s EXCEL developmental program as well as head coach of the women’s under-17 and under-20 teams. She also served as an assistant with John Herdman at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics, where the team won its second Olympic bronze medal after also finishing third at the 2012 London Olympics.
Since leaving Canada in August 2018, Priestman has been the head coach of England’s under-18 and under-17 national teams. She was an assistant on Phil Neville’s coaching staff at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where the Lionesses finished fourth.
She was thought to be in line to succeed Lionesses’ head coach Phil Neville in 2021, but England recently gave that job to Netherlands coach Sarina Wiegman.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome Bev Priestman back to Canada Soccer as our women’s national team head coach,” said Steven Reed, Canada Soccer’s president, adding that her previous contributions “set a solid foundation for success across all levels of the women’s national team program and we are excited to have her bring her recent experience, vision and leadership to her new role.”
Priestman’s qualifications include a UEFA A Diploma and she’s currently working toward a UEFA Pro License, the highest coaching certification in European football.
Priestman also worked with New Zealand Football for four and a half years, serving as head of football development before leaving to join Canada Soccer in 2013.
The team hasn’t been together since March 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but most of Canada’s players are staying sharp by playing in professional environments whether it be in the recent National Women’s Soccer League’s Fall Series, the FA Women’s Super League, France’s Division 1 Feminine or with NCAA schools.