Kenneth Heiner-Møller: “This was not an easy decision to make because of the quality of the people that I have had the pleasure to work with since my time at Canada Soccer. (Photo courtesy of Canada Soccer)

Canada Soccer announced Wednesday that women’s national coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller will leave his role after August.

The association has started have the search for an immediate replacement to lead the team at the Olympic Games in July and August 2021, which were postponed from this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This was not an easy decision to make because of the quality of the people that I have had the pleasure to work with since my time at Canada Soccer,” Heiner-Møller said in a statement. “As a leader in the women’s game, Canada Soccer’s investment in the women’s national team program will ensure its continued success. I would like to thank the players, staff and Canada Soccer for the opportunity to represent a great nation and program who I have every confidence will return to the podium at Tokyo 2020.”

Heiner-Møller was hired as national coach and national excel program director in January 2018. He posted a record of 20-10-5. He qualified Canada for both the 2019 Women’s World Cup and 2020 Tokyo Summer Games with second-place finishes at the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship and 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, respectively. As an assistant coach with the women’s national team, he helped Canada win a bronze at the Rio 2016 Games.

Returning to his native country, Heiner-Møller will go back to the Danish Football Association as the head of coach education. He had served as Denmark’s women’s national coach from 2006-13, directing the team to a bronze medal at the UEFA Women’s EURO 2013.

As part of the transition, Heiner-Møller will continue to manage the program and provide support to the new Head Coach to ensure program continuity.

“Canada Soccer wishes Mr. Heiner-Møller all the best in his return to the Danish Football Association and thank him for his contributions to our women’s national team program,” Canada Soccer president Steven Reed said in a statement. “He is a highly-regarded coach who gained the respect of the Canadian soccer community in his time with our organization and we thank him for his genuine approach with both players and staff.”

The Canadians are one of five countries that has qualified for each of the past four Women’s Olympic football tournaments. They are also the only nation to reach the podium at London 2012 and Rio 2016. Canada qualified for next year’s Olympic Games through the 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in January and February. At the same tournament, Canadian captain Christine Sinclair scored her world international record 185th career goal.