London (Monday, 23 January 2023) - London City Lionesses (LCL), of the Barclays Women’s Championship, announce the departure of Melissa Phillips as the Club’s Head Coach to assume the role of First Assistant Coach at Angel City Football Club (ACFC).
Melissa arrived in London the day before the United Kingdom entered lockdown, joining London City as Assistant Coach. She was appointed as Head Coach in October 2020 and was integral to the Club’s growth and success.
London City sits at the top of the table going into the second half of the season. Melissa completed the UEFA A Coaching License whilst with London City and also holds the USSF A Senior License.
The clubs came together to mutually agree her departure, which occurs in the Barclays Women’s Championship transfer window, and ensure that Melissa will be available to ACFC in time for their preseason.
“We see this as the beginning of an exciting relationship between two clubs who share very similar vision and values,” says London City Chairwoman and Founder Diane Culligan.
“Melissa has done a fantastic job for London City Lionesses over the last two and a half years, especially in leading the development of the on-field product. We appreciate that she has been presented with an amazing opportunity to return to her home in California and evolve her career with ACFC.
“We believe that, rather than this being the end of London City’s fantastic relationship with Melissa, this represents an opportunity for her to be the bridge between two pioneering pillars of women’s football on either side of the Atlantic.
“We take the responsibility in shaping the growth of women’s football very seriously and we’re pleased that Melissa is going to a club with similar ambitions on the world stage. Football has a fantastic way of shaping human behaviour, driving positive societal and cultural change.”
Melissa comments, “It is with great sadness and sincerity that I am stepping down from the position as Head Coach at London City. I am so grateful for the board entrusting me with their vision over the past few years. It has been a journey from the inception of the club to where we are now and I’m so incredibly proud of every person, players and staff, who have contributed to the successes along the way.”
Personally, and professionally, I feel it is right for me to pursue opportunities back home. This has been an incredibly tough decision and one I haven’t taken lightly. However, I feel the staff, players and processes we have in place are so strong that they will continue to keep the club on the current trajectory.
“I have so much care and respect for every person at London City. With such strong vision and values, I know the Club can establish itself to be a successful Women’s Super League entity and serve the women’s game for years to come.”
Nikita Runnacles, the current Assistant Coach, will step up as Interim Head Coach until an appointment is made. Nikita has been with the club since 2020, progressing from a part-time Goalkeeping Coach to a full-time Assistant Coach at the start of this season.
Nikita currently holds a position in the England Youth Pathway as Goalkeeping Coach for the U17s squad.