Women's Senior
Women's Senior

As our new coach meets the Lionesses squad, find out more about Hege Riise

Monday 15 Feb 2021
Hege Riise in celebratory mood during her time in the USA with Carolina Courage

Former Norwegian international Hege Riise was appointed as Lionesses interim head coach in January - but how much do you know about her?

Well, the 51-year-old is regarded as one of finest players of her generation and one of only three women to have won an Olympic gold medal, FIFA World Cup and UEFA Women’s Championship.

During her playing career she amassed a record 188 international caps and scored 58 goals in the process during a time when Norway was a force to be reckoned with at major tournaments.

Now, in her first role as coach of a national team, she has the opportunity to share her vast experiences and impart wisdom upon an England squad with immense potential.

“I'm looking forward to leading my first international camp with England,” she said, after naming her first squad last week ahead of the February get-together which includes a game against Northern Ireland on Tuesday 23 February.

Riise was named as the best Norwegian female player of all time by the national federation

“I’ve watched a lot of England and club matches and believe this is a group of players who are capable of winning at a major tournament.

“My work from now until Sarina Wiegman’s arrival is to develop their ability, playing style and physical conditioning to contribute to future success – this summer and beyond.”

Born in Lorenskog, Norway in 1969 - Riise first started to play football around the age of six before joining a local boy’s club where she would stay until her early teens.

She played the majority of her club football in her native Norway but moved to Japan for a couple of years in the late 90s before returning to her homeland.

In 2000, the midfielder was drafted by Carolina Courage in the USA's prestigious National Women's Soccer League and picked up the team’s MVP award twice before again returning to Norway and retiring in October 2006, aged 37.

My thought when I got this job was that this was something I need to do to help other female coaches be able to move around the world and do the job they love.
- Hege Riise, England coach

But it was with the national team that Riise truly thrived on the pitch, as she forged a 14-year international career that would culminate in being named as the best female Norwegian player ever by the NFA.

Having made her debut for the Grasshoppers in 1990, Riise was named player of the tournament as Norway were crowned 1993 UEFA Women’s Championship winners.

Two years later she repeated the feat by winning the Golden Ball and scoring in her country’s 2-0 victory over Germany in the final of the 1995 FIFA World Cup.

In 2000 she crowned her legacy with an Olympic gold medal as Norway pulled off an incredible extra-time win over reigning world and Olympic champions, the United States.

After hanging her boots up Riise moved straight into coaching, firstly in Norway before becoming assistant to United States head coach Pia Sundhage in 2009.

Riise's coaching career has taken in spells in the USA and her homeland

Sundhage and Riise would go on to claim second prize in the 2011 FIFA World Cup together, losing narrowly to Japan via penalties in the final.

Once again Riise returned to familiar ground when she became assistant head coach at Lillestrøm-based outfit LSK Kvinner in 2012 before taking the reins herself in 2016.

Riise has since led LSK to unbridled success - six Norwegian league titles in a row and beaten only once in the domestic cup competition during that time.

She has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on Norwegian football that will last forever but saw 2021 as the perfect time to take the next step in her coaching career.

By Tom Dean