Casey Stoney caused shockwaves today after announcing she would step down from her role as head coach of Manchester United.
The 38-year-old joined the fledgling Red Devils in 2018, helping the side earn promotion to the Women’s Super League after just one season in the Championship. In their two seasons in the WSL, Manchester United have finished fourth both times, just missing out on a Champions League place this year.
“It has been an honour to lead the women’s team at this great club and this has been an incredibly tough decision,” said Stoney, a former England international. “Having come on board to start the team from scratch, then winning the Women’s Championship in our first season, we have now successfully established the team as a force in the Women’s Super League. I have loved leading this group and I am proud of what we have achieved together.
“However, after a difficult season with disruption caused by the pandemic, I now feel the time is right to take some time away and for someone else to come in and lead the team on the next stage of its journey. I want to thank the club, all of the fantastic staff, the fans, and most of all the players, for the incredible experience we have shared over the past three years.”
Following the surprising announcement, GiveMeSport Women assesses where Stoney could end up next.
Could Stoney be taking the helm at her former club? The Gunners are on the lookout for a new manager after Joe Montemurro announced in March he would step down at the end of the season.
If Stoney wanted to remain in the UK, Arsenal would seem a logical step. Only Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal finished above United this season, and the former two clubs are content with their respective managers. To go to any other club in the WSL would almost seem to be a regression in Stoney’s blossoming career.
Stoney also knows the North London side well, having played for the team 39 times from 2014 to 2016. Manchester United fans might not be happy, but a move to Arsenal seems a possibility.
Of course, Stoney could decide to take charge of a national side. Although she was heavily tipped for the vacant England job, Sarina Wiegman was appointed in August as head coach of the Lionesses instead.
Following Wiegman’s departure, the managerial position with the Netherlands has not yet been filled. Perhaps Stoney would be tempted to take up this role, and lead one of the best national teams in the world at the 2022 European Championships and 2023 World Cup.
Portland Thorns FC
According to The Telegraph, Stoney’s impressive performances as Manchester United head coach has attracted interest from the NWSL in the United States.
The NWSL season is just about to get started this weekend, so it would not be an ideal time to join an American side, but Portland Thorns head coach Mark Parsons has been heavily linked with the Dutch managerial role.
If Parsons was to leave Portland Thorns, this would give Stoney the perfect opportunity to start coaching over in the US.
Angel City FC
Could there be a better fit for one of the most exciting projects in women’s football than one of the most exciting coaches in women’s football?
The launch of Angel City last year caused an avalanche of headlines, in part due to its all-female ownership group. The group includes tennis icons Serena Williams and Billie Jean King, football legend Abby Wambach, and actresses Natalie Portman, Eva Longoria and Jennifer Garner.
With the team set to start playing in the NWSL in 2022, they are surely on the lookout for a dynamic and talented coach. Who better than Stoney? Angel City even has links with the UK, having hired the Women’s Sports Group to work with the club to build their brand.
In her statement, Stoney revealed she felt it was “right to take some time away”. Perhaps the former centre-back has decided to take some time out, having gone straight from her playing days into a managerial career.
Add this to the demands of her young family, and a sabbatical for Stoney seems quite likely. After all, taking a year out is commonplace amongst the world’s best managers. Take Pep Guardiola, for instance, who enjoyed some time away from football between his stints at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.News Now - Sport News