Arsenal Ladies manager Laura Harvey will leave the Club in January 2013 to take up a new role with American side Seattle Reign FC, in the newly formed National Women’s Soccer League.
Laura first joined the Arsenal Ladies set-up in summer 2008 as first-team coach, and was appointed manager midway through the 2009/10 campaign.
Since then the 32 year-old has overseen a period of great success for the women’s team, steering them to three consecutive league titles, two Continental Cups and one FA Women’s Cup, and to the last four of the UEFA Women’s Champions League on two occasions.
Against the backdrop of an increasingly competitive women’s game - in which the advent of the FA Women’s Super League in 2011 brought a new professionalism and profile to the top tier of the sport - Laura was responsible for maintaining Arsenal’s dominant domestic position, as well as building a squad capable of competing with the best teams in Europe in the Champions League.
In her remit as elite education programme director, Laura played a key part in nurturing a new generation of talent at the Club, including a number of players who have become first-team regulars.
Laura said: “I’ve had a wonderful four-and-a-half years with Arsenal Ladies and would like to thank everyone at the Club for the fantastic support they have shown me thoughout my time here.
"A special thanks must go to Vic Akers for giving me the opportunity to manage this special club. It was always going to be a huge challenge taking over from such a legendary figure in the women’s game, but I've learnt so much from Vic and can’t thank him enough for all that he’s done for me.
"I’d like to thank all the staff I worked with at the Club too, they are a credit to the game. Finally I want to thank the players, who have been a pleasure to coach. They are an immensely talented group, with a winning mentality, and I’ve no doubt they will continue to succeed.”
Arsenal Ladies general manager Vic Akers said of the move: “I want to thank Laura on behalf of everyone at the Club for the fantastic work she has done over the last few years.
"What she has achieved with this team - both in terms of the trophies she’s won and the players she’s brought through - has been remarkable.
Of course we are sad to see her go but we understand that she has been offered a great opportunity to go and manage in one of the best leagues in the game and we would like to wish her all the best for that.
We are fortunate that Laura leaves behind a group of players capable of competing at the very highest level, and I’ve every confidence that we will continue Laura’s good work in the season ahead.”
With Arsenal Ladies not returning to competitive action until their Champions League quarter-final tie with ASD Torres in March 2013, the Club will now undertake a considered and thorough search for Laura’s replacement.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 21 Dec 2012