Kate Richardson-Walsh: Olympic gold medallist to coach Hampstead & Westminster Ladies

By Rob StevensBBC Sport
Kate Richardson-Walsh
Kate Richardson-Walsh won 375 caps over the course of her 17-year international career

Olympic gold medallist Kate Richardson-Walsh has been appointed as joint-head coach of Hampstead & Westminster Ladies' first XI.

The 38-year-old captained Great Britain women to a historic first Olympic hockey gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Hampstead & Westminster narrowly missed out on promotion to the top flight of the Women's Hockey League last season.

"I was waiting for the right opportunity and a club I thought I could grow at," she told BBC Sport.

"With all the things I want to learn and people there to work with, this was the perfect opportunity."

Former Ireland international Sarah Kelleher, who coaches England Under-18s, will be joint-head coach alongside Richardson-Walsh at the Maida Vale-based club.

Hampstead & Westminster Ladies went unbeaten to win the Conference East title last season but finished third in a play-off group for two available places in the Premier Division. The top two clubs, Beeston and Slough, booked their spots in the top flight.

"They are an old club with lots of tradition, celebrating their 125th year, and the ladies' side have made great strides in such a short time," Richardson-Walsh added.

"Working alongside Sarah, who was an exceptional player and is an exceptional coach, I feel I can learn a lot from how she works with the players."

England can 'do well' at World Cup

Richardson-Walsh won 375 caps over the course of her 17-year international career - including 13 years as GB captain - and previously served as an assistant coach at Reading towards the end of her playing days.

Her appointment comes on the eve of the Women's World Cup, which takes place in London from 21 July to 5 August.

England are in Pool B, alongside India, Ireland and the USA.

"England come in ranked second in the world and I think they can do well," Richardson-Walsh said.

"If they can top their pool they've got a slightly better route through to the quarter finals.

"Women's hockey has grown in strength and depth which means that anyone in that top eight could win a medal. That's what you want and there are going to be things to play for all through the tournament."