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Published 27 February 2023 4 min read
Women's U23

Emma Coates appointed as England WU23s head coach

Written by:

FA Communications

New head coach to take over from Mo Marley after  spell with Young Lionesses 

Emma Coates has been appointed head coach of England Women’s U23s.

Women’s technical director Kay Cossington and Lionesses head coach Sarina Wiegman see the appointment as key to building on the significant progress within the player pathway through development teams to the senior set-up.

Coates has been working in the England coaching structure at St. George’s Park, and is currently guiding the WU19s in their qualifying campaign for this summer’s UEFA EURO. She will begin her new role for the 2023-24 season.

Mo Marley had been leading the WU23s while a full-time appointment was sought but will now return to providing mentoring to national coaches. Marley had originally chosen to step back from full-time coaching in October 2020.

Coates said: “It's a really proud moment to become head coach of the WU23s and I would like to thank Kay for the opportunity.

“It's always a privilege to work in the pathway with England teams. This new role is particularly exciting with how closely it is aligned to the seniors. You can see the flurry of promising players that have come through recently and how Sarina is committed to giving them an opportunity if they are performing.”

“We have some incredible talent in our system. As a coach, I'm driven by player development and committed to helping individuals to improve, which goes hand in hand with learning how to win football matches as a team.

"I see this role as an opportunity for me to bring together all of my experiences from Leeds, Doncaster and England to help maintain that flow of players who transition through to the seniors, making the most of their talent as football players and helping them grow as people off the pitch too.”

Coates has been in charge of England WU19s this season
Coates has been in charge of England WU19s this season
Coates also spoke about the importance of St. George’s Park as a “hub for football” and the opportunity it provides to “create connectivity between all teams and coaches”. She also paid tribute to Marley, adding: “I'm super lucky to have been able to learn from her at first hand and see the standards she holds. The number of top players she has helped develop is phenomenal.”

Cossington added: “I'm delighted we've been able to make this appointment. Emma brings exceptional experience of our player pathway, but also has the know-how of coaching within the Women’s Super League and at international tournaments.

“Appointing Emma to this role is an endorsement for the work being done within our technical directorate to support talented female coaches. I would also like to thank Mo for the way she continues to support England teams. She's an incredible coaching role model.”

Having begun her coaching career with Leeds United, Coates went on to Doncaster Rovers Belles – becoming head coach in June 2016 before joining the FA as a national-team coach just over a year later.

Fresh from a 3-0 win against Switzerland for the WU19s last week, Coates will lead that age group in April when they take on mini-tournament hosts Spain, Slovenia and Belarus for a place in the EURO finals in Belgium this July. Recruitment for the coach to lead the WU19s from next season will begin in due course.

The WU23s returned as an age-group team in October 2021 – a month after Wiegman began her work with the seniors – and started the new era with a 1-0 win in Belgium. Five of that squad – including match-winner Katie Robinson - featured in the Arnold Clark Cup-winning senior squad last week.