Sarina Wiegman, the current manager of the England women’s national team, believes that it is only a matter of time before a female coach takes charge of a men’s professional team in England. While female managers have been appointed in men’s clubs in France, the only instance in England was when Hannah Dingley took charge of League Two side Forest Green Rovers on an interim basis in July 2023.
Wiegman highlighted the presence of women in high-ranking positions in other industries and expressed her belief that the balance between male and female football coaches in the UK will eventually be achieved. She stated, “I think it will happen, I’m not sure how long it will take but I think it would be good. I think it’s a matter of time and that comes with the development of the game. Women are everywhere, women are head of countries and in business too. The balance of women in high-ranked positions, that should be a little more balanced between men and women. In football, we’re not used to having women coaching men at the highest level.”
While female coaches are more prevalent in the women’s game, with five out of twelve teams in the Women’s Super League having female managers, Wiegman believes that more needs to be done to encourage women to enter the football industry. She emphasized the importance of projects that provide extra attention and support to women in football, stating, “We need more women in football, so you have to do extra things. What the FA is doing now with coaches coming into our environment and exploring is hopefully so they get inspired and want to stay in the game. We have to help them and encourage them.”
Wiegman, who led the England women’s team to an inspiring European Championship title in 2022 and to the final of the Women’s World Cup earlier this year, has made a significant impact in her role. There were even rumors that she could replace Gareth Southgate as the manager of the England men’s team. However, Wiegman made it clear that her focus is solely on the women’s game at the moment. She stated, “My thoughts now are totally not in men’s football, my thoughts are with the women’s game and what we can do. I really love my job for the FA and with England. This is the highest level, I work with world-class players, in the best facilities and expertise around me for support. I am just really enjoying it.”