The Bundesliga stands at the forefront in the promotion of gender equality in football. Not only is the Women’s Bundesliga the most successful league in terms of UEFA Women’s Champions League winners, but the German top flight will also see the first female referee take charge of a match in a top European league next season following the appointment of Bibiana Steinhaus to the DFB’s list of referees for 2017/18.
Now Eintracht Frankfurt have announced that they will be reinforcing their scouting department with the addition of Helena Costa. For the team that reached the 2017 DFB Cup final with a squad comprised of 17 different nationalities, the addition of yet another foreign import from Portugal may not come as a surprise – except that Costa also adds to the growing female contingent in the Bundesliga.
Known jokingly as “Jose Mourinho in a skirt,” Costa is renowned for her in-depth footballing knowledge, and that is exactly what Eintracht director of football Fredi Bobic wants to tap into. “She has real knowledge of football and has already experienced a great deal in her life in the sport. We want scouts who live in and know the countries where we’re looking for talent,” Bobic explained.
There are not many who know the ins and outs of Portuguese football better than 39-year-old Costa, who was a coach in Benfica’s youth system for 13 years, and it is clear that The Eagles are eager to continue their trend of successful Latino imports such as Marco Fabian, Carlos Salcedo, David Abraham and Jesus Vallejo with the addition of Costa to their scouting network.
Costa, who holds a UEFA A coaching licence, has also gathered experience during various spells abroad during her time in the backroom staff at Celtic in Scotland and her spells in charge of the Qatar and Iran women’s teams. She made headlines in 2014 when French Ligue 2 side Clermont Foot appointed her their head coach – the first woman to manage a men’s team in the top two divisions of a major European league.
Costa and Steinhaus’ arrival in the Bundesliga for the new season symbolises the increasing importance and recognition of women in football in Germany. They join a growing contingent of women working at the DFL and Bundesliga clubs, including the woman known as “the beating heart of Bayern Munich.”
Kathleen Krüger can often be spotted on the bench of the record champions but prefers to do her work as team manager in the background. The 31-year-old has been responsible for all administrative issues at the Bavarian giants for a number of years under several head coaches, ensuring that the players and coaches are free to go about their work on the pitch, including securing five consecutive Bundesliga titles.