The Ireland women’s national team is parting ways with head coach Vera Pauw, who led the team to a historic World Cup appearance but also was dogged by controversy.
The Football Association of Ireland confirmed Tuesday that it will not offer a new contract to Pauw. She had led the team since 2019.
Under Pauw, Ireland made its first-ever Women’s World Cup appearance. But she faced questions and criticism over her behavior while a coach in the NWSL, and she butted heads with team captain Katie McCabe during the World Cup run.
The NWSL investigation into coaching misconduct found that the former Houston Dash coach had “shamed players for their weight and attempted to exert excessive control over their eating habits.” In July, a report from The Athletic detailed more of Pauw’s behavior, which players called “abusive” and “belittling,” though Pauw strongly denied the allegations.
In the final match of the World Cup, Pauw got into a public spat with McCabe over player substitutions.
“If Katie McCabe says that she wants a change that doesn’t mean [we change]. She’s not the coach, eh?” she said. McCabe responded to the barb with a zipped mouth emoji on social media.
Still, at the time, Pauw said she didn’t feel as if the 0-0 draw with Nigeria would be her last game with Ireland.
The decision not to extend Pauw came as the result of a six-hour meeting, which included a report detailing the team’s campaign dating back to September 2021. The report featured contributions from players, Pauw and her management team.
FAI chief executive Jonathan Hill said in a statement about Pauw’s departure that they “wish her well” and thanked her for her “hard work and commitment” over the past four years.
“In particular, I wish to acknowledge the role she played in leading Ireland to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 where our women’s team made history and inspired a nation,” he said. “The future is bright for women and girls’ football and our focus now is building upon the work done by Vera and the historic achievements of our women’s team, which we see as a platform to support the next phase of the journey for the team, and more broadly the development of women and girls’ football in this country.”
No information has been provided on who could replace Pauw, although Eileen Gleeson has taken over as interim head coach, with Tom Elms assisting.