Helena Costa

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Helena Costa
Helena Costa 2012 (cropped).jpg
Costa as the coach of the Qatar women's national team in 2012
Personal information
Full name Helena Margarida dos Santos e Costa
Date of birth (1978-04-15) 15 April 1978 (age 39)
Place of birth Alhandra, Vila Franca de Xira, Portugal
Teams managed
Years Team
1997–2010 Benfica (youth)
2005–2006 Cheleirense
2006–2008 1º Dezembro (Women)
2008–2009 Odivelas (Women)
2010–2012 Qatar (Women)
2012–2014 Iran (Women)

Helena Margarida dos Santos e Costa (born 15 April 1978) is a Portuguese football manager.


Costa has a master's degree in sports science and a UEFA A Licence in coaching.[1] From 1997 to 2010, she coached Benfica's youth team, leading them to second place in the national championship in 2005. At the same time, she managed lower league side Cheleirense, winning the Lisbon championship in 2006. She also managed women's sides, winning two league titles with S.U. 1º Dezembro in 2007 and 2008, and taking Odivelas to promotion to the top flight as champions.[1] From 2008 to 2011, she was a scout for Scottish club Celtic F.C. in Portugal and Spain.[1][2] Costa returned to Celtic as a scout for separate spells in 2012 and in 2013.[3]

As an international manager, she managed Qatar's women to their first ever victory (4–1 against the Maldives in 2012). On 22 October 2012 she was appointed manager of Iran's women[4] but could not lead them to the 2015 World Cup.[1]

She was initially going to coach French Ligue 2 club Clermont Foot from the end of the 2013–14 season[1] becoming the first female coach of a professional football club in France, and the first in the top two tiers of a major European league.[5] France's Women's Minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, reacted to Costa's announced appointment at Clermont Foot by writing "Congratulations to Clermont Foot for understanding that giving a place to women is the future of professional football" on Twitter.[6] However, in June 2014, she decided to quit the position,[7] citing "total amateurism" and a "lack of respect" from the part of the club, with the sporting director having players signed without her consent, and would not reply to her attempts to contact him.[8] Costa was replaced by another woman, Corinne Diacre.


  1. ^ a b c d e Helena Costa: French Ligue 2 side Clermont Foot name woman boss BBC Sport, 7 May 2014
  2. ^ "Congratulations to Helena Costa on historic appointment". Celtic F.C. 7 May 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  3. ^ World First Top Female Boss Daily Record (Scotland). 11-05-2014. Retrieved 15-05-2014.
  4. ^ "Helena Costa to become Iran’s Women football coach". OANA News. 22 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "French club Clermont Foot makes history with Helena Costa coaching appointment". CNN. 7 May 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  6. ^ Belkacem, Najat (7 May 2014). "Bravo au Clermont Foot de comprendre que donner leur place aux femmes est l'avenir du football professionnel.". Twitter (in French). Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Communiqué officiel" (in French). clermontfoot.com. 23 June 2014. Archived from the original on 25 June 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "Helena Costa: Female coach explains Clermont quit decision". BBC Sport. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2014.