Helena Costa has become the first female coach hired in France's professional soccer league.
The second-tier French soccer team Clermont Foot 63 made the announcement Wednesday. The 36-year-old Portuguese-born Costa previously coached the women's national teams of Qatar and Iran, and also worked as a scout for Scottish club Celtic, The Washington Post reported
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"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," the French professional team said in a statement.
"It's a big surprise . . . It came out of nowhere," forward Remy Dugimont told L'Equipe, Yahoo's EuroSport reported
. "We'll have to learn to know her. We hope it is going to be fine but I don't think there is problem."
Clermont Foot defender Anthony Lippini was excited about the development.
"I can't wait for next season to discover this," Lippini told L'Equipe. "Being the first professional players to be coached by a woman will be a unique experience."
According to FirstPost.com
, the Italian soccer team Viterbese, a third-tier league professional team, was the first professional soccer club to employ a woman as a coach, hiring Carolina Morace in 1999. Morace quit after two matches due to "constant media pressure," FirstPost noted.
The news was celebrated on Twitter.
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