French team Clermont hires Helena Costa as first female coach in upper-tier men’s European soccer


Helena Costa, shown here coaching Iran’s national team. (EPA/STR)

Soccer stadiums may be open-air, but there’s still a glass ceiling to break when it comes to professional men’s teams’ coaching staffs. Now, however, thanks to the France’s Clermont Foot, there’s a crack in that roof. The second-division team hired Portugal-native Helena Costa on Wednesday to replace Regis Brouard, and said “this nomination should help Clermont enter into a new era,” The Associated Press reports.

Costa, 36, previously coached the women’s national teams of Qatar and Iran, and also worked as a scout for Celtic in Scotland. Now, she will become the first female head coach of a Top 2 division team in Europe’s five major leagues when she takes over next season, TeamTalk.com reports.

One other woman has been hired to coach a professional team in a third-tier league. Carolina Morace coached the Italian team Viterbese in 1999, but quit after just two matches because of “constant media pressure,” FirstPost.com writes.

Unlike Morace, though, Costa has social media on her side. Judging from the initial reaction on Twitter, Costa’s appointment will be welcomed.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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