News broke this morning of a huge get for England’s technical staff— and a devastating loss for the US Women’s national team.
The Daily Mail’s Dominic King tweeted this morning that Dawn Scott, the USWNT’s high performance coach, will be leaving to take a job with the English Football Association as physical fitness coach for the senior England women’s team.
Major coup for Phil Neville and his England team. They have appointed Dawn Scott, who has left her role as the head of fitness for the USA team to take charge of England set up. Scott is regarded as the best in her particular field. FA expected to confirm early next week— Dominic King (@DominicKing_DM) November 16, 2019
This report was backed up by Simon Austin, writing for “Training Ground Guru.”
Her role will involve delivering “a world-class physical performance, nutrition and coaching service… to enable the development of world leading physical capability”.
The report was further confirmed by Jeff Kassouf.
Significant #USWNT news here. Dawn Scott has been a big part of the U.S. program's success over the past decade, even taking a lead role in coordinating #NWSL fitness standards. She moves on to England (I can confirm as well), which will be a big boost for the Lionesses. https://t.co/Q76i61pNWm— Jeff Kassouf (@JeffKassouf) November 16, 2019
New USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski told SI.com a few weeks ago that he intended to keep Scott on his technical staff. Since then, Scott apparently decided she was ready to move on.
US Soccer did not yet have an official statement at the time of this article’s writing.
I had heard about this last month and from what I understand Neville had to work pretty hard to convince the FA this was a good move. He was right to do so, it’s a GREAT move. Big statement for Dawn Scott to come and work with England https://t.co/C9xmuMXb1E— Molly Hudson (@M0lly_Writes) November 16, 2019
Scott previously worked for the FA from 2001 to 2010 as Head of Sports Science and Exercise Science for the Lionesses. She then left to join US Soccer as high performance coach for the USWNT. During her tenure with USSF, she worked with Pia Sundhage, Tom Sermanni, and Jill Ellis, and was hailed as the backbone of a setup that helped deliver two World Cup titles and an Olympic gold medal. She’s been praised nearly universally by USWNT players, with former goalkeeper Hope Solo calling her work “second to none.” Most recently, she vocally advocated for the integration of menstrual cycle tracking in monitoring and improving athlete performance. In situations where marginal differences could compound into huge results, Scott was the architect of a US side that, when unable to outplay an opponent, could always outlast them. We can only speculate how much the FA was willing to spend to lure Scott away from US Soccer, but it’s surely not a paltry amount, unless USSF somehow let Scott’s contract slip through the cracks.
For an England side that has struggled since the end of the World Cup— posting a record of two wins, a draw, and three losses since falling to Sweden in the Third Place game this summer— bringing Scott back to the technical staff could be one of the keys to righting the ship. This doesn’t solve the tactical problems that tie back to the head coach, but assuming that Scott is allowed to do her job unimpeded by bureaucracy or ego, she could rebuild the Lionesses into a side capable of physically, perhaps even psychologically, challenging the top teams in the world— including the USWNT.
As for the Americans, their dominance on the world stage has been due in large part to their unrivaled physical fitness. With their high performance coach moving on, that dominance may be called into question. Any replacement will hopefully happen quickly enough to start getting up to speed before Concacaf qualifying. It’s not the worst time in the world for staff turnover as the team transitions under Andonovski, but there was never a good time to lose Scott either. Finding a suitable replacement, and quickly, may have just become Andonovski’s #1 priority.
UPDATED 11/20, 11:20am ET: US Soccer has officially confirmed Scott’s departure.
USWNT GM Kate Markgraf had this to say in the official press release:
Dawn is an incredibly hard worker who did a world class job helping prepare our players physically, helping them recover from injuries and helping them reach their highest levels on the field [...] We say goodbye to her with a tremendous amount of gratitude and respect. She cares deeply about the players and the program and her important contribution to a unique part of our history will always be appreciated and never forgotten.