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.
Congratulations to Helena Costa on historic appointment http://t.co/zH2LkJu9Im— Celtic Football Club (@celticfc) May 7, 2014
Shout out Helena Costa. Female managing a second division French side. Massive breakthrough— Black Socrates (@UncleD1su) May 7, 2014
Best of luck to Helena Costa in a male dominated sport. Big step for woman’s football.— Aboulieve (@MicksutOzil) May 7, 2014
Great to see a female getting a good job in football management. Helena Costa taking over at Clermont in French Ligue 2 next season.— ChelseaChatter (@CFCChatter) May 7, 2014