We are delighted to announce that highly respected netball coach Jess Thirlby has agreed to take on the role of Vitality Roses Head Coach.
Thirlby was selected for the role shortly after Tracey Neville stepped down from the position following Neville’s four year stint at England Netball.
Thirlby‘s solid credentials stem from her sixteen year record as an elite netballer and some fifteen years as a netball coach. Thirlby represented her country from 1991-2006, in 2006 she transitioned into senior coaching with the Celtic Dragons, having already coached at England U17 and U19 during 2004 and 2005. She has held the position of England U21 Head and Assistant Coach during two World Youth Cups (Cook Islands 2009 and Glasgow 2013) and has worked as both an Assistant and Technical Coach with the senior England team (2013-15).
Following 20 years of her netball career as both a player and a coach at the first full time high performance environment at Team Bath based at the University of Bath, Thirlby now joins England Netball with a wealth of experience in identifying and developing high performance athletes. During her time at Bath Thirlby consolidated her experience as an elite player to take on the role of Head Coach at the England Netball Intensive Netball Training Centre, which in turn led to her role as Director of Netball at Team Bath in 2008.
Joanna Adams, CEO of England Netball, said “We are delighted to welcome Jess Thirlby to England Netball as our new Head Coach. Jess’ thorough understanding of the elite netball landscape and experience of working with some of the Vitality Roses’, both past and present, makes her the perfect fit for this role.
“Tracey did a fantastic job of growing this sport during her time as Head Coach, she will be missed but I know Jess will do a phenomenal job at continuing to build on the Roses’ legacy and developing our up and coming players into world class athletes.
“I’d like to wish her the best of luck in this role and look forward to working with her ongoing.”
During her time as a player, Thirlby won her first Superleague title with Team Bath in 2005-06 having already played for England at every level from U16-U21 and then as a senior, which included competing at the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games alongside former England Head Coach Tracey Neville.
Thirlby has been involved in all five Team Bath Netball Superleague title successes as either a coach or a player.
Thirlby, who was the first netball coach to be selected and graduate from the highly respected UK Sport Elite Coaching Programme, said: “It is an absolute honour and privilege to be appointed as the Vitality Roses Head Coach. I have a huge amount of respect for Tracey, the Roses and the team behind them that have led this wonderful sport to where it is today. This is a great time to be taking on the role as we head into Netball‘s exciting next chapter. My focus will be to harness and build upon the momentum and solid foundation gained over the past four years.
“I expect the look and feel of the team to change as some players may begin to consider hanging up their netball trainers following the Vitality Netball World Cup, but I am excited to invest in and develop the amazing new talent that is coming through. We‘ve had phenomenal national support and wide coverage of the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup, which can only strengthen our focus and resolve as we set our sights on the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, another major event on home soil.
“I recognise and am truly honoured that England Netball have put their faith in me to take on this pivotal role within the England programme and can’t wait to get stuck in.”
Sara Symington, Performance Director at England Netball, said: “After seeing Jess’ success and progression as a coach over the years, it is clear that she lives and breathes netball and has done an outstanding job at creating a positive culture at Team Bath throughout her time there. I’m sure she will do an equally brilliant job working with the Roses and we are delighted to have her on board.”