French second division club appoint first female coach | inside World Soccer

French second division side Clermont Foot have named Helena Costa as their new coach, making her the first female coach of a French professional club and also the first in any of Europe's top two tiers.

Helena Costa is now set to become the first female coach of a French professional club
Helena Costa is now set to become the first female coach of a French professional club

Photo: Record

The Ligue 2 club confirmed the appointment of Costa on Wednesday morning, with the Portuguese leaving her role with the Iran women's side.

Costa, who will officially join the club at the end of the season, will be introduced after Clermont's final match of the season.

"Clermont Foot 63 has chosen Helena Costa to be our new coach," read a statement on the club's website.

"This appointment will allow Clermont Foot 63 to begin a new era, relying on a group of 17 players currently under contract, which will be added young players from the club."

Costa has largely managed in the women's game but has history in the men's too, having coached at age-group level for Benfica and scouted for Glasgow Celtic.

A well-respected tactician, the 36-year-old holds a Masters degree in sports science, a UEFA A badge and is a regular speaker at football seminars and coaching workshops.

And several Clermont players have already expressed positive feelings on the historic announcement.

"We were told the new coach was this lady," striker Rémy Dugimont told L'Équipe.

"It is a surprise, a big surprise, because a lot of names were circulated; all coaches who were more or less unemployed.

"It is good, it will create a buzz and will be a unique experience. At first it will be a little weird but it will only last a few days.

"We don't not know how it will happen but if the president has chosen to bring her, we hope it will be okay and I think there are no problems."

Teammate Anthony Lippini added: "I spoke with the physio and we spoke about the first time a woman entered the army - a very macho environment.

"Now there are many women in the army and it may be the same in football. I cannot wait for next season to discover. I'm really curious."

Prior to Costa, Carolina Morace coached Italian Serie C1 side Viterbese for just two games before quitting due to constant media pressure way back in 1999.

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