Simmons, who earlier this year was named among The Guardian’s top 50 most influential women in British sport, also paid tribute to Hope Powell, former head coach of the England senior women’s team, for the legacy she left.
“Participation levels, which continue to grow, make women's football the third most played sport in England”
Kelly Simmons FA director
She said: “The FA has invested significantly into the women's game over the past two decades, including major developments such as the formation of The FA Women's Super League. Current participation levels, which continue to grow year-on-year, make women's football the third most played sport in England.
“Just last month, Wembley Stadium hosted an England Women’s international against Germany in front of 45,000 fans, an incredible occasion and proud moment for everyone involved – not just for head coach Mark Sampson and his squad but for all those who blazed a trail for the women’s game.”
“The growth of the women’s football has been remarkable and, without question, Hope [Powell] left a strong legacy after 15 years leading the women's senior team. Hope played a significant part in helping The FA raise the profile of the women’s game to the point where it’s stronger than it has ever been.
"When we looked to recruit a new head coach for the England women’s team following Hope’s departure, we spoke to people from across the game both domestically and internationally before making any appointment. It was about appointing the best person for the job and the recruitment process was open to all.
“There is a still a shortage of female coaches and we are working hard to address this”
“We were delighted to secure Mark’s services and he has done a superb job, evidenced by the successful qualification campaign for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.
"We want the best male and female coaches working across both games. Mo Marley [head coach of the England Women's U19s team] and Kay Cossington [head coach of the England Women's U15s team] are managing our England Youth teams while Marieanne Spacey is assistant coach of the England Women’s team.
“While we should all be encouraged by these huge gains, we cannot become complacent. There is a still a shortage of female coaches and we are working hard to address this.”
“To further increase the coaching talent pool, The FA has set up a female coaching mentoring scheme through the new Elite Development Unit which is focused on developing both female players and coaches.
“The FA is also currently running a B Licence specific course for females until end of February 2015. Around 80% are female coaches and the remainder is made up of male coaches working in the women's game."