Jarmo Matikainen has announced that he will step down from his role as coach of the Football Association of Wales (FAW) women's national teams in March.
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Jarmo Matikainen will step down from his role as coach of the Football Association of Wales (FAW) women's national teams in March to return home for personal reasons.
Since his appointment in October 2010, the 53-year-old Matikainen has played a pivotal role in developing the women's game in Wales but the popular Finnish coach has now decided to return to his homeland. "I have really enjoyed my time in Wales,” he said, in a statement released by the FAW. "It has been a fantastic challenge and experience both on and off the field. I hope the women's game continues to go from strength to strength in this country. I am very grateful to have been part of the Welsh football family."
During his time at the FAW, the former midfielder was responsible for developing all areas of the women's game and his influence established a professional foundation for his eventual successor to build upon. Last summer Wales hosted the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship and Matikainen played a key part in ensuring that the first-ever final tournament in the country was a success.
Wales striker Gwennan Harries spoke to UEFA.com during the U19 finals about Matikainen's impact, saying: "Jarmo being appointed was huge. It was vital we had somebody involved full time with the whole structure to ensure each age group play the same way, with the same footballing philosophies. He has been absolutely brilliant and we are seeing the benefits of his hard work."
Matikainen departs with Wales sitting second in FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying Group 6 with six points from their opening three fixtures. They return to action in April with phase matches away to Turkey and home to Ukraine.