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 so far, here’s Group B.
Germany – Silvia Neid
Silvia Neid is a living legend of German soccer. She is considered to be among the best German players ever (she appeared in 111 games for their national team and scored 48 goals) and is by far their winningest coach. After her playing career ended in 1996, she became an assistant coach. In 2005, she took over as the head coach, and has not looked back. She was at the helm (do teams have helms?) when the German team won the 2007 World Cup and also for a less successful run in 2011. All good things come to an end and the 51 year-old Neid has announced that she will be retiring in 2016.
Ivory Coast – Clémentine Touré
Clémentine Touré gave up a chance to coach in the 2007 World Cup when she resigned from a position on the Equatorial Guinea staff to take the position as head coach of her native Ivory Coast team. She was an accomplished professional, playing on club teams in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, as well as 22 times for her national team. As you can see for yourself in this CCTV video about her, Touré, who came from a family of coaches is confident in and proud of her position as a female coach.
Norway – Even Pellerud
Did I already use the phrase “living legend” in this post? Perhaps I should have saved it for Even Pellerud who is entering his fifth World Cup as a coach (there have only ever been six!) Pellerud was a solid but uninspiring as a player. He played for a few teams in the Norwegian professional league but never for his country’s national team. He has had much more success as a coach. He led Norway to medals during the first two women’s World Cups, silver in 1991 and gold in 1995. After that, he tried his hand at coaching men at club teams in Norway and Denmark but didn’t have much success. In 1999 he took over as head coach for the Canadian women’s national soccer team and led them to the 2003 and 2007 World Cups. Now, at 61, he’s back with team Norway, although it seems like eventually, he’d like to get back together with his adopted country of Canada, where his family still lives and he still has deep ties.
Thailand -Nuengruethai Sathongwien
Nuengruethai Sathongwien is the first female coach of the Thai women’s national soccer team and she took over just weeks before the 2014 Asian Cup which doubled as the qualification tournament for the World Cup. Believe it or not, that’s just about all I could find out about Sathongwien. As amazing as it sounds, the internet seems just not to know very much about her. She has no Wikipedia page, no twitter handle, no website. As much progress as the women’s game has made things like this are a reminder of how far we still have to go. It’s inconceivable that a World Cup qualifying men’s coach would be even one tenth as unknown as Sathongwien. It’s possible that she is overshadowed by the team’s manager, Nualphan Lamsam, a charismatic insurance company CEO and “well-known socialite” who has no previous experience with soccer.