England and Great Britain Hockey are delighted to announce the appointment of David Ralph as Head Coach of their women’s international hockey teams.
David brings a breadth of qualities to the role. He is hugely experienced in international hockey, having been Assistant Coach of the Great Britain and England women’s teams for the past four-and-a-half years. During this time, he was interim Head Coach on two occasions, leading England’s women to EuroHockey bronze in 2017. This summer, he played an integral role in the women’s third successive Olympic medal as Team GB won bronze in Tokyo. Prior to that, he was Assistant Coach to our men for four years – also including a spell as their interim Head Coach - and coached both the England men’s U21 and indoor teams. As a player, David also earned more than 100 international caps for Scotland as a forward.
At club level, he spent 14 years with Loughborough Students, leading the men’s programme and also assisting their women’s team, giving him first-hand knowledge of the pathway from club to international level. Integration with the domestic game was a key consideration in David’s appointment as Head Coach.
David said: “I am delighted to be appointed to the position of Head Coach for the Great Britain and England women’s teams. Having worked with both since early 2017, it is a privilege and an honour to be given the opportunity to continue working with such an excellent group of players and staff. This is a programme that has a rich history of success and has been at the forefront of raising the profile of women’s team sport, and I relish the opportunity to continue that work and write our own history as I believe that we possess a great deal of quality within group.
“There is a fantastic foundation to build on due to the tremendous work that has already taken place in creating a vision and a culture that the team pursues and lives by. This is a large part of why this role is incredibly exciting. This is a group of people that I fully believe in and have loved working with and there are some tremendous tournaments, challenges and opportunities coming up in the next few years that I look forward to attacking them alongside everyone.
“There are many people I need to thank for helping me on my journey to this point, too many to mention them all, but I would like to place on record my thanks to Loughborough University for giving me the opportunity to pursue coaching as my career. The experiences I gained there in my time involved with our elite domestic game and the opportunities I was given while working in the England National Age Group programmes helped me develop and grow along my coaching journey.
“Having been involved in club and international hockey as a player and a coach in Scotland and England, I am fully aware and supportive of the contribution that our elite domestic game and our partners at Scottish Hockey and Hockey Wales make to the Great Britain team. I very much look forward to continuing to strengthen those partnerships and working relationships as we all strive to grow our domestic competitions and deliver international success.”
Performance Director Ed Barney added: “David was the outstanding candidate from world-wide application and short-listed group. The panel were unanimous in their view that David will excel in leading the senior women forward. He expressed a real depth of passion and excitement for the role. Alongside this, the panel could clearly see the creativity and innovation that David will bring not only to the senior women, but also the deep commitment to supporting the full women’s pathway.
“Over the past few years and in the lead up to Tokyo, those of us fortunate to work with David have seen the clarity, depth of knowledge, confidence and good humour that he has brought to the senior women’s programme. We know he will bring huge acumen over the coming years and wish him the very best.”
The governing body are extremely grateful for the help of the selection panel, which included Tracey Neville MBE (head coach of the Commonwealth gold-winning England women’s netball team), Paul Thompson MBE (Australian-born multiple medal-winning rowing coach) and former international hockey players Katy Roberts and Simon Mantell.