French soccer team Clermont Foot have hired Helena Costa as their manager. The club made an official announcement today:
Clermont Foot 63 has chosen Helena Costa to be our new coach.
Helena Costa came through the ranks at Benfica before taking charge of the women's teams at Odivelas, then the national teams of Qatar and Iran, in addition to working as a scout for Celtic.
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.
With the signing, Costa has not only become the first woman to manage a professional team in France, but the first woman to do so in the top two divisions of Europe's top five major leagues.
It can't really be understated how momentous this appointment is. Clermont Foot currently sit in 14th place in France's Ligue 2, the country's second division. The top tiers of European soccer didn't even see its first female referee until 1995, in Frenchwoman Nelly Viennot.
Costa, 36, started her coaching career in her native Portugal has a teenager in 1997, and is taking over Clermont Foot this summer after most recently managing Iran's women's team. She's just the second woman to manage a professional men's team in Europe. The first, Carolina Morace, managed Italian side Viterbese in the country's third division. Morace resigned after just two matches.
Clermont defender Anthony Lippini talked to reporters about Costa's appointment, and said, "I spoke to the physio about it, and we spoke about the time when the first women entered into the army, which was a very macho environment.
"It was a shock at first but, now, women in the army has become normal. It might become the same in football. I can't wait to start the season to discover this. I'm really curious."
h/t to David