Neid's career as a player began at SV Schlierstadt, later renamed to Klinge Seckach. She stayed with the club until 1983 when she signed up with SSG Bergisch Gladbach, then the dominant team in German football. She won the double with SSG in 1984, but moved to TSV Siegen after a titleless 1985 season. The club had its best years in the time Silvia Neid played for Siegen, winning six championships and five cups. When coach Gerd Neuser stopped coaching Siegen in 1994 Neid wanted to leave Siegen for SG Praunheim, but the club did not want to let her. Neid retired after the 1996 season and immediately took a coaching job with the women's national team.
She took over for the national team on 20 June 2005. In 2005–06 Neid led the German team to the qualification for the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup. Germany defeated Brazil 2–0 in the final of the tournament. In 2008 she led the German team to the Bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
In 2010, she was the first winner of the FIFA Ballon d'Or for Best Coach on Woman's football.
On 30 March 2015 it was announced that Steffi Jones would become the new German head coach in 2016. Neid will become the new head of the scouting department.