TIME feminism

French Men’s Football Club Picks First Female Coach in Historic Hire

Helena Costa Female Coach
AFP/Getty Images Portugal's Helena Costa in action as coach of Qatar's women football team on May 26, 2012.

Helena Costa, who has managed the women's national teams of Qatar and Iran, will be the first woman to coach a men's professional soccer team in any major European league when she begins her role with Clermont Foot 63

Helena Costa became the first woman to coach a men’s professional soccer team in France on Wednesday, when she was hired to coach the Clermont Foot 63, a second-division club in Germont-Ferrand.

“I think this is about more than Helena Costa as a football coach,” Costa told the New York Times in a telephone interview from her home country, Portugal. “I think it’s very good for all the women in sports, especially in football of course. It could have been someone else. And I hope this is only the first step. I opened a door today and more women will walk through on my back. That’s what I hope.”

Before coming to France, Costa, 36, managed the women’s national teams of Qatar and Iran, was a scout for Scottish men’s club Celtic and a manager for boys’ teams at Benfica in Portugal. This won’t be her first time coaching adult men: she coached a men’s team in Portugal that competed at the regional level.

No woman has ever coached a men’s team in the top two levels of Europe’s five major professional leagues in England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. And there has never been a female coach in the United States’ MLS.

Costa will take over as manager later this month when the team’s current season ends.


Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team