WALES women's international football coach Jarmo Matikainen has announced that he is to return to his native Finland in March 2014.
During his four years with Wales Matikainen has seen the women’s national team reach its highest ever FIFA ranking and has been a part of the first ever UEFA tournament on Welsh soil with the hosting of the UEFA Women’s Under-19 finals last summer.
“I have really enjoyed my time in Wales. It has been a fantastic challenge and experience both on and off the field.” said Matikainen.
“To host the under-19 finals was a tremendous occasion and the event was a great success. I have made some great friends during my time with Wales and would like to thank the FAW for their support. I hope the women’s game continues to go from strength to strength in this country.
“Players, coaches and Welsh football people have been brilliant to work with. Their passion and commitment has always been a delight and a source of strength. The Welsh sense of humour is like the Finnish, unique, and I have felt very familiar with it. I am very grateful to have been part of the Welsh football family.”
Jonathan Ford, the chief executive of the Football Association of Wales, said: “Jarmo has made a huge contribution to the women’s game in Wales.
"He has improved the quality at all levels on and off the field. He has brought a new level of professionalism into the women’s game in terms of facilities, preparation and results.
“We wish him all the best in his future career and fully understand the reasons behind his decision to return to Finland to see more of his family.”
The FAW are discussing with Matikainen the possibility of his involvement in the senior women’s team and their remaining matches in the World Cup qualifying campaign.