Kelly Simmons is to leave the Football Association, after over 30 years of developing and driving the women’s and girls’ and grassroots game in England forward.
She will step back from her current role as our Director of Women’s Professional Game in the summer, before leaving the FA next year.
And it will bring to an end a remarkable spell with the organisation for Kelly, who will leave an enduring legacy after making a significant contribution to the growth of the women’s game in particular.
During her career at the FA which began in December 1991, she held a variety of development roles in both the men’s and women’s game, has led on the creation and delivery of some of our most successful national game strategies and built some of our strongest teams.
Among her proudest achievements are establishing the England women’s youth teams and the Female Player Pathway, embedding football development within County FAs as part of the first National Game strategy for grassroots football and overseeing the youth review which drove strong growth in young people playing the game.
In recent years, Kelly’s work has seen her drive the women’s professional game with passion and purpose, which has seen the Barclays Women’s Super League and Barclays Women’s Championship become exciting competitions with some of the world’s best players, commercial partners and broadcasters and a huge following.
Her work and influence was recognised in June 2021 when she received an OBE for her services to women's football as part of the Queen's birthday honours list.
“After over 30 brilliant years at the FA, Kelly has decided that it is time for a change,” said FA CEO Mark Bullingham.
“Kelly has made a seminal contribution to the FA, and the growth and development of the Women’s game in particular, and will leave an enduring legacy.
“Kelly has been a valued member of the senior management team, a great colleague and an inspiring mentor for many of us inside and outside the FA.
“I would like to thank Kelly for her commitment to overseeing a strong and smooth transition to the next stage for the Women’s Professional Game.”
And Kelly herself added: “It has been an absolute privilege to play a role in the development of our national game.
“I would like to put on record my appreciation to the FA women’s professional game team, clubs and partners, who are helping change the landscape of football in this country.
“I look forward to helping complete a record-breaking Barclays WSL and BWC season before stepping away and supporting it as a huge fan.”