England head coach Sarina Wiegman has long been a history-maker and a record-breaker. Whether in her playing days, during which she became the first Dutch footballer to reach 100 caps, or in her managerial career, which has seen her lead both the women’s teams of the Netherlands and England to their first major tournament triumphs, Wiegman’s incredible achievements have so often been significant milestones. But, as she led England to a first Women’s World Cup final earlier this year, rumours began to swirl of another first, one of an entirely different nature.
No men's international team has ever offered a job to a female coach but, in the build-up to that final, Mark Bullingham, the chief executive of the Football Association (FA), said that he believed Wiegman “could do anything she wants in football” when asked if she could be a contender to replace Gareth Southgate, the head coach of the men’s team, in the future.
A few days later, it became evident that the English FA was not the only federation thinking in that manner. A report from The Telegraph said that Wiegman was also being considered in the Netherlands, her home country, to coach the men’s national team.
Having carved out a reputation as one of the best managers in the women’s game, winning the last two European Championship titles and reaching the last two World Cup finals, in some ways it’s no surprise that Wiegman is being linked with such historic appointments in huge jobs. U.S. Soccer is also rumoured to be an admirer of the Dutchwoman as it searches for a replacement for Vlatko Andonovski, who left his post as head coach of the U.S. women’s national team after a dismal World Cup campaign.
But in the men’s game, cases of female coaches are few and far between. If England’s record-breaking leader was to become the latest one, it would certainly be the most high-profile instance to date.