Mark Sampson has been appointed England women's coach, signing a four-year contract with the Football Association (FA).
The 31-year-old leaves Bristol Academy WFC, where in five seasons he led them to the 2011 FA Women's Cup final – earning a UEFA Women's Champions League debut – and to second in the 2013 FA Women's Super League, beaten to the title on the last day by Liverpool LFC but ensuring a European return in 2014/15. Sampson, however, will be concentrating on England's FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying campaign, in which they have won all four games so far with 20 unanswered goals under caretaker Brent Hills, who took over after the end of Hope Powell's 15-year reign in August.
According to an FA statement: "Sampson has signed a four-year contract with the FA and will begin work with immediate effect, his first task to name a squad for the January training camp in La Manga. Reporting to the FA's director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking and the Club England board, Sampson will work closely with the national coaches and the [as-yet unappointed] head of elite women's development at St George's Park to improve England teams at all levels and support the player pathway up to the senior women's team."
Welshman Sampson, who before taking over at Bristol was centre of excellence manager at Swansea City AFC, said: "I'm very proud and honoured to be offered the opportunity by the Football Association to manage the England women's senior team. Women's football in England is in a fantastic place right now with the growth and development of the game in the last few years and I am ready to give everything I have to build an England team that every English supporter can be proud of.
"I am also very thankful to Brent for the excellent work he has done in helping the team get off to a winning start in the qualifying campaign for the World Cup in 2015. The aim is to build on this momentum going forwards, and I look forward to the first training camp in January.
"This is huge challenge for me personally and one in which I'm looking forward to taking on. I hope everyone in the game can unite behind me and the squad and together we can share a new and exciting journey for women's football in England."
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