Helena Costa steps down at Clermont, no longer first female manager

Helena Costa has changed her mind about becoming coach of men's professional soccer team Clermont.

Alexander Roth-Grisard

CLERMONT, France —

Helena Costa, who was set to become the first woman to coach a men’s professional football team in France, has changed her mind, the club said.

The French second division side announced the hiring for next season last month but on Monday said Costa has decided not to take charge.

A statement on the Clermont website said ”this decision is sudden and surprising.” It did not give a reason for the decision.

The 36-year-old Costa would have been the first female manager to be appointed in the highest two divisions of any professional European football league.

Costa, who is from Portugal, 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.