Ligue 2’s Clermont appoint female head coach

The French second-division club announced on Tuesday they were hiring Costa, currently coach of the Iran national women's side, to manage their squad.

In what would seem to be a global first for a level this high, French second-division side Clermont announced on Tuesday they were hiring a woman to manager their club.

Helena Costa, of Portugal, is very likely blazing a trail globally with her appointment. I can’t think of any North American professional teams at this level with a female coach, nor do any high-profile European sides come to mind.

Nicole Kirnan took over the 1000 Islands Privateers in America’s Federal Hockey League, which, while certainly a pro circuit, is a notch or two beow on the ice hockey pyramid than Ligue 2 is on the footy pyramid.

It’d be cool to see her find some success in France and, perhaps, open up a few more doors for other women looking for such a position, whatever the sport.

The full story below, via Reuters:

Portuguese Helena Costa will be the first woman in charge of a men’s professional team in France after she was named Ligue 2 side Clermont Foot’s head coach on Wednesday.

“Helena Costa will coach Clermont Foot next season,” the club said in a statement.

Costa, 39, is the current manager of the Iran national women’s team, having scouted for Celtic and managed the Qatar national women’s team.

“It should help the club enter a new era,” Clermont added.

Clermont are 14th in Ligue 2 with two matches to go.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, France had Nelly Viennot as the first woman to be assistant referee in an elite match. Viennot also served as assistant referee in Champions League games.

In Germany, referee Bibiana Steinhaus officiates in second division games. She is the first woman referee in the second Bundesliga and the first to have been a referee in the DFB-Pokal.

In Spain, Maria Jose Claramunt is the director of the national team, responsible more for marketing than sporting issues.

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Published: May 7, 2014 04:00 AM