NAILSWORTH, England (AP) — Hannah Dingley has been praised for “holding the fort” in her landmark appointment after Forest Green Rovers announced it had hired David Horseman as permanent coach of the fourth-tier English soccer team.
Forest Green became the first men’s professional soccer team in England to appoint a female head coach earlier this month when Dingley was hired on an interim basis.
“I’m grateful to Hannah for holding the fort for the club while we went through the complete recruitment process and although she did not get the top job this time, it’s undoubtedly been a valuable experience and a big step on her career path,” Forest Green chairman Dale Vince said Tuesday.
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Dingley remained in charge for a final game when Forest Green played Everton under-21s on Wednesday.
Horseman, who was previously in charge of Southampton’s under-23 side, said he welcomed “the opportunity to lead a team which has such strong values both on and off the pitch.” Horseman worked alongside Ruben Selles when he took charge of Southampton’s first team in the Premier League last season.
Dingley, who was already in charge of Forest Green’s academy, was made caretaker head coach following the departure of Duncan Ferguson after relegation to League Two. She was already the only woman in charge of a men’s English Football League academy.
“I’m really excited for this next step of my career,” Dingley said when she was appointed interim head coach. “It’s an exciting time in football. I am grateful for the opportunity to step up and to lead such a progressive and forward-thinking club.”
Horseman will begin his new role on Thursday ahead of traveling to Plymouth for a behind-closed-doors friendly game on Saturday.
Forest Green has a reputation for breaking down barriers, having been officially recognized by the United Nations as the greenest soccer club in the world due to its drive to be carbon neutral.
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