Willie Kirk says he has taken “an opportunity he couldn’t turn down” after being appointed the new manager of Everton Ladies.
The former Bristol City head coach was announced as the new Toffees boss on Saturday, joining from Championship side Manchester United where he was assistant to Casey Stoney.
He has been joined at the Blue Girls by assistant Chris Roberts, who was his number two at both Hibernian and then the Vixens.
Kirk is relishing the challenge presented in front of him and believes he arrives at a club that matches his own ambitions.
“I am delighted to be here,” said Kirk. “It is a really exciting move for me. The surroundings here at USM Finch Farm are fantastic so I cannot wait to get started.
“I was manager at Bristol City and I knew I would be again one day in my career. I didn’t think it would come around this quickly but when this opportunity came up, I just felt it was too good to turn down.
“Everton has a great history in the game, one that everybody is proud of. They also have a fantastic reputation for bringing through young players, something I am passionate about if you look at my previous positions and roles in my career. There is a big emphasis on development so that fits with my values and philosophy.
“I am a very ambitious person. It was important that my ambition matched Everton’s and that is certainly the case. It was about making sure the working environment was right, the ambition was right because I have come here to be successful.
“I don’t think you leave a club like Manchester United unless you are certain you can be successful with your new side. That is what I expect to be here at Everton. All the talks I have had with the Club make me feel like that can be achieved here.”
Kirk began his coaching career within men’s football in his native Scotland, starting out at Livingston where he worked with the club’s youth sides. In 2009 he moved to Hibernian in a similar capacity within their academy and was soon appointed head coach of Hibs’ ladies team.
Under his guidance, Hibs lifted the Scottish Cup in 2010 and the League Cup in 2011. In 2013 he guided them to a second-place finish in the Women’s Premier League, earning the Scottish Women’s Football Manager of the Year award.
In 2014, Kirk was named High Performance Football Manager within the Scottish FA and returned to club football the following year, taking charge of English second division side Bristol City.
He led the Vixens to promotion in 2016 and cemented Bristol’s place in the Women’s Super League with successive eighth-place finishes.