The other day on Facebook my friend and Dear Dear Sports Fan Fan, Natty, asked me about the backgrounds of coaches in this year’s Women’s World Cup. I had no idea! So, I decided to do some research. Over the next few days, as the teams all play their second games in the Group Stage, we’ll be profiling their coaches. We’ve covered Group A, Group B, Group C, and Group D so far, here’s Group E.
Brazil – Vadão
Vadão, full name, Oswaldo Fumeiro Alvarez, is a journeyman soccer coach who spent 22 years coaching men’s teams before taking over the women’s national team last year. In those 22 years, he’s has 28 different coaching stops! His longest tenure with a single team is the three years he spent at his very first job from 1992-1994 at Mogi Mirim. That’s an astounding number of rapid-fire coaching assignments. It’s hard to believe he’s still with the team, given that it’s been more than a year since he took the job! Maybe the 58 year old has finally settled down a bit or maybe it’s the allure of coaching the Brazilian women through the World Cup and to the 2016 Olympics hosted in Brazil. Since Vadão took over, he’s established a semi-permanent training camp for the team because he felt the domestic league was not competitive enough for them to improve in.
Costa Rica -Amelia Valverde
Not much is known about Amelia Valverde. This makes a certain amount of sense considering the 28 year-old took over as head coach less than six months ago when then head coach, Garabet Avedissian, stepped down to become the director of football for the Puerto Rican men’s and women’s program. Six months is a minuscule amount of time to have in the role of head coach before taking a team to its first ever World Cup. Luckily, the 28 year-old Valverde has been a part of the Costa Rican national program since 2011 in various assistant coaching roles.
Korea – Yoon Deok-Yeo
Although we’ve had several female head coaches with World Cup experience as players so far, Yoon Deok-Yeo is the first male coach we’ve profiled with playing experience in the World Cup. Yoon was a defender on the South Korean national team that went to the 1990 World Cup in Italy. Korea lost every game that year and Yoon got himself thrown out of their last game with a red card in the 70th minute. As a coach, the 54 year-old is said to be a “hugely popular father figure” for his inexperienced team.
Spain – Ignacio Quereda
At first glance, the story of Ignacio Quereda seems like a heart-warming one. The 64 year-old Guereda has been the head coach of the Spanish women’s national team, without pause, since 1988. Finally, in 2015, 27 years after he began, he finally gets a chance to lead the team he’s devoted much of his life to coaching to the World Cup. Then it occurs to you that a men’s coach who had failed at qualifying for the World Cup in each of its first six editions might not have the same job-security that Quereda enjoys. Then you look a little deeper and you find out that 2011, Spain’s leading scorer and several of her teammates left the team and refused to play as long as Quereda was the coach. Maybe this isn’t a story about loyalty and persistence at all. Maybe its a story about how some national federations neglect and disrespect their women’s programs.