Helena Costa becomes first major female football coachby Mick Bates / 07 May 2014, 13:21Tweet
French side Clermont Foot, who currently ply their trade in Ligue 2 (the second tier of French football), have announced that Helena Costa will take control of the managerial reigns of the side from next season. Costa will be succeeding Regis Brouard who is set to leave the club in the summer after his contract expires.
In doing so, the club has made history as Costa becomes the first female to manage a team in any of the top two divisions across Europe's leading leagues. The only other woman to manage a side in Europe has been Carolina Morara at Italian third tier outfit Viterbese. Costa is no stranger to the dugout though having already managed the ladies national sides of Iran and Qatar as well as being in charge of the Benfica women’s team.
Whilst this is good news for women in football, we are probably some way off a female manager taking charge of a team in the Premier League or even the Football League. However, who'd have thought there would ever be a female Prime minister prior to 1979?
The last time a female manager was linked to club in the Football League was back in 2009 when the then England Ladies manager at the time, Hope Powell, was linked to the manager's job at Grimsby Town, who were fighting for their League Two survival at the time following the departure of Mike Newell. However, the position was eventually filled by Neil Woods who could not save the Mariners from relegation out of the Football League.
In the UK, the Women's Premier League has become more widely supported in recent years (with thanks in part to the success of the England Women's team during the 2012 Summer Olympics) but even that is dominated by male managers e.g. Nick Cushing at Manchester City Ladies and Matt Beard at Liverpool LFC. However, one of the most successful ladies teams around currently, Arsenal Ladies, is managed by Shelley Kerr, who has been in charge of the Gunners since February 2013 and could offer some hope that in future years, a female manager could feature in the professional game in England.