French team hires Helena Costa, a woman, to coach and causes ‘earthquake’

In the words of Claude Michy, President of French second division club Clermont Foot, the appointment of Helena Costa as his team’s new coach created an ‘earthquake’.

“Because it’s football — something global and still rather conservative — and a provincial French team hires a female coach, it creates a media earthquake,”Michy told the New York Times in an interview.

Helena Costa shows some skills. And, just like Jose Mourinho, has some style.

Helena Costa shows some skills. And, just like Jose Mourinho, has some style.

Costa, you see, is a 36-year-old woman. And a woman has never coached a male team at the elite level (and, yes, we can call the French second division ‘elite’). Costa is the first female to be a head coach in one of the top two divisions of Europe’s five major professional leagues: France, Germany, England, Italy and Spain. Think about that.

She comes with some pedigree. She has previously coached the women’s national teams of Qatar and Iran and been a scout for Glasgow Celtic and coached the youth team of Benfica, one of Portugal’s biggest clubs.

Helena Costa

On the bench with Helena Costa, new coach of Clermont Foot. Pic: Getty Images

“I opened a door today, and more women will walk through on my back,” Costa said. “That’s what I hope.”

So, straightaway, there’s the challenge. Who’s next?



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