Profile: Shelley Kerr

As a player, Shelley Kerr was a powerful centre back, who captained the Scotland women’s national football team as well as clubs including Edinburgh Dynamo, Hearts, Spartans, Hibernian and Kilmarnock. She won 59 caps for Scotland between 1989 and 2008.

During her playing career she won every domestic honour in Scotland and played in the UEFA Women’s Cup. She also played for Doncaster Rovers Belles in England.

Shelley retired from international football, at 39 years old, after the away leg of Scotland’s eventual away goals defeat by Russia in Nalchik on 30 October 2008, in the qualifying play-off. As of 2019, she held Scottish national records for the oldest player (39 years, 15 days) and the longest span of appearances (19 years, 183 days between first and last caps).

As a coach, Shelley gained experience at Kilmarnock, Hibernian and Spartans while progressing through the Scottish Football Association’s (SFA) Long-term Player Development pathway, eventually taking charge of the Scotland women’s under–19 national team in 2009. She gained the UEFA Pro Licence in January 2013.

She managed English FA WSL club Arsenal from February 2013 until June 2014 leading them to an FA Women’s Cup and Continental Cup double in 2013, and a second FA Cup in 2014. 

In August 2014, Shelley became the first female manager in British men’s senior football when she was appointed manager of Stirling University, competing in the Lowland League. Her appointment was the first time at that level in the United Kingdom a woman has been named as manager of a men’s club. She led the team to consistent top five league finishes and the British Universities Championship final in 2014–15. Shelley also established an under 20 programme as a pathway to the full team for players in her time in charge. 

In April 2017, Shelley was appointed Scotland Women’s Head Coach and in September 2018, Shelley led the Scottish Women’s team to qualification for the World Cup for the first time which took place in France in 2019. 

In May 2021, she joined the Football Association’s technical department to support the delivery of the ‘How We Play’ philosophy and approach across all women’s teams.

In addition to Shelley’s playing and coaching career she is also a regular contributor to the media, whether being interviewed or contributing to TV, radio and online shows.

Shelley was awarded the MBE for services to football in 2019. She graduated in 2016 with an MSc in Sport Management and also has an honorary degree from the University of Stirling.