Vera Pauw will lead the Republic of Ireland in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualification campaign after signing a new two-year contract with the Football Association of Ireland.
Appointed in September 2019, Pauw and Ireland narrowly missed out on clinching a play-off spot for the 2022 UEFA Women’s European Championships.
The Irish side made good strides during the campaign and had been in pole position to secure the play-off until slipping up against Ukraine.
Pauw will continue to be supported by assistant coach Eileen Gleeson and goalkeeping coach Jan Willem van Ede, who have also both extended their contracts.
Pauw said: “I’m excited to continue in my role with the Republic of Ireland team and with the FAI. We made huge strides in our last campaign and there is no reason why we cannot build on that with the core of players that we currently have and more young players coming through.
“Since first coming into the role, I have enjoyed tremendous support from everyone at the FAI to help the growth of the game. And the guidance of High Performance Director Ruud Dokter has been central to that.
“The support network of the staff has also been hugely influential in everything we have achieved so far. Both Eileen Gleeson and Jan Willem van Ede have been so important in helping us prepare for every training session, every game and everything we do in creating the best possible environment for the players.
“It is the same with our backroom staff, from medical, performance analysis, operations, through to media, we work together as a team to help the team. I cannot speak highly enough of their commitment and passion for helping us to improve every day.
“Also, the support of the Irish fans has been extremely heart-warming. We got to see how they can have a positive impact the team when we had such a large crowd in Tallaght Stadium for our games against Montenegro and Greece. Hopefully, when the world becomes a safer place and the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic is not as great, we can welcome our fans back.
“Now it is about preparing for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers. I believe that we have a special group of players with a desire to become the first Ireland women’s senior team to qualify for a major tournament and I’m looking forward to being part of that.”
FAI chief executive Jonathan Hill described retaining Pauw as a significant step in developing women’s football: “I am delighted to have agreed this contract extension with Vera as we all look forward with huge excitement and optimism for the upcoming World Cup qualification bid.
“This is a significant step in the development not just of our national team but for women’s football in Ireland overall.
“I said when I took on the role of CEO that the growth of women’s football is hugely important to me and to the Association.
“I have no doubt that Vera and her players will continue to inspire the next generation of Irish women and girls from now and throughout the campaign to get us to Australia/New Zealand in 2023.”
FAI high performance director Ruud Dokter believes Pauw is the perfect manager to lead Ireland forward towards the World Cup.
He added: “When you look at what Vera has achieved in football, as a player and in management, she is one of the very best in the world. So, naturally, we are delighted to have her in charge of Ireland.
“The impact that Vera had on the team in 2019 and 2020 was clear to see and they were very unlucky not to at least reach the play-offs of the European Championships. And it should not be forgotten that that was achieved during the outbreak of COVID-19 and Vera having limited time with the players on the training pitch.
“This is an exciting time for women’s football in Ireland and having Vera part of that gives us an advantage over other nations considering her experience and expertise. We will give Vera, her staff, and the players all of the necessary support that they require to be successful.”
The qualifying draw for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will take place on 30 April with the games set to kick off in September.