Melissa Phillips: London City Lionesses manager leaves Women’s Championship leaders

Women’s Championship leaders London City Lionesses have confirmed manager Melissa Phillips has left the club.

Phillips, who took Lionesses top of the second tier of English women’s football, leaves to become assistant coach of Angel City FC in the US.

She departs Lionesses five days before their FA Cup fourth-round tie with Women’s Super League side Tottenham.

“This has been an incredibly tough decision and one I haven’t taken lightly,” she said.

“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.”

London City, who were founded in 2019 as an independent breakaway club from Millwall Lionesses, are top of the Championship with 24 points from 11 games.

Their FA Cup match with Spurs will be shown live on the BBC Sport website.

Phillips had been in charge since October 2020, and will be replaced by her former assistant Nikita Runnacles for the Spurs game and until a permanent appointment is made.

London City chairwoman Diane Culligan said: “Melissa has done a fantastic job 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.”

Phillips will assist English coach Freya Coombe at Angel City, which has a majority female ownership ground including actresses Natalie Portman, tennis stars Serena Williams and Billie Jean King, and former US soccer players Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm among others.

Angel City, which is based in Los Angeles, finished eighth in the 2022 National Women’s Soccer League, failing to qualify for the end-of-season play-offs.

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