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Clermont hires 1st female coach in French pro game

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 7, 2014 at 9:46 am •  Published: May 7, 2014

Players from French second-division club Clermont welcomed the appointment of Helena Costa, the first woman to coach a men's professional football team in France.

Clermont announced the hiring for next season on Wednesday on its website, adding "this nomination should help Clermont enter into a new era," and that she will work closely with developing the club's youth team players.

The length of the contract and financial terms were not revealed.

The 36-year-old Costa, a Portuguese, previously worked with the youth setup at Benfica, and coached the women's national teams of Qatar and Iran, as well as scouting for Scottish club Celtic.

She will replace Regis Brouard, who has Clermont in 14th place with two matches remaining.

"She has already worked alongside men in the professional world (of football) so she knows how it works," Clermont striker Remy Dugimont said. "No one has any experience of this, sure, but if it's worked elsewhere, why wouldn't it work here? Of course it will feel a bit strange at first, but that will only last a few days."

Defender Anthony Lippini said it was a natural progression to see women coaching in men's football, and was looking forward to the first training session.

"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," Lippini said. "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."

Clermont president Claude Michy played down the significance of the appointment.

"You have to look at things the right way. There are women in F1 (Formula One) and also in politics," Michy told L'Equipe's website. "When you take up a sport, the objective is to do as well as possible."

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