The supervisor that wins wherever she goes

90min is championing 10 influential girls in soccer this International Women’s Day.

Sarina Wiegman grew to become the primary coach to win back-to-back tournaments European Championship tournaments, having led the Netherlands to the Euro 2017 title 5 years earlier than England’s victory final summer season.

It will be mentioned that Wiegman had a aggressive edge from a younger age, taking part in soccer on the streets of her dwelling nation.

“When I first began kicking a ball round on the streets of The Hague, it was principally with boys. There had been no ladies’ groups then, so I made certain my hair was minimize actually brief and performed in groups with my twin brother.

“Sometimes, when individuals noticed I used to be a lady, they made bother. Other occasions we acquired good reactions. But more often than not it was arduous to play.”

As a participant, Wiegman spent a while within the Netherlands earlier than shifting on to the United States to additional develop herself as a participant on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“In the Netherlands, it felt like we had been all the time combating for our place. Like we weren’t accepted. I needed extra and I knew that, within the US, issues had been higher for ladies’s soccer.

“America was like a soccer paradise for me. There was recognition, the services had been nice and we had good coaches – passionate coaches. The yr I spent there modified my life. It modified my mindset. In America I had discovered one thing I used to be searching for.

Sarina Wiegman

Wiegman after her Euros success with the Netherlands / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

“I used to be with a bunch of girls and ladies who needed the identical factor as I did. I’m certain there had been a number of within the Netherlands, however they weren’t actually within the atmosphere the place I had been. You felt that the coaches needed to make you’re employed arduous and develop as a participant, however that in addition they needed to care for you.”

While within the United States, Wiegman had the chance to play alongside a number of future stars of the USWNT, together with Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, and Carla Overbeck. The mentality of striving for what girls’s soccer may grow to be in America is what Wiegman introduced again together with her when she began teaching in her dwelling nation.

After a brief stint managing Ter Leede, Wiegman grow to be the primary supervisor of ADO Den Haag, one of many founding members of the primary ever skilled girls’s league. With Wiegman in cost, they gained the National Championship in 2012 and the KNVB Cup in 2012 and 2013.

She then moved on to grow to be an assistant coach for the Netherlands’ nationwide crew, whereas additionally pursuing her UEFA Pro teaching license. As a part of the method of receiving her license, Wiegman coached at Sparta Rotterdam.

“As the one feminine coach there, I knew I needed to present that I had high quality. That’s what I labored on all day. Work arduous, put high quality into every thing and ship.

“It was a brand new atmosphere for me – the primary time I used to be working with an expert males’s crew. At first, I used to be all the time asking myself: am I doing the appropriate issues? But I noticed how Alex Pastoor [the manager] and his coaches labored. Figured issues out.

“I additionally acquired some affirmation that what I had been doing was working.”


After a while as assistant coach with the nationwide crew, Wiegman made the step up after Arjan van der Laan was sacked in 2016 to take cost of the crew. At the time, the performances had been poor, and morale throughout the dressing room was low.

“We had some pleasant video games, and these gave us alternatives to coach our taking part in fashion. I didn’t change it, however I put some emphasis on sure issues: arranging our counter-attack, our transitions between attacking and defending. We put quite a lot of effort into these issues.

“The largest focus was on our mentality, although. We had some gamers who had been all the time speaking about how good gamers from different international locations had been. We needed to deal with that and alter the way in which these gamers checked out themselves.”

The Netherlands went on to win their first main worldwide girls’s title, the Euros, solely six months after her full-time appointment in the course of the summer season of 2017 – an unimaginable feat provided that that they had misplaced 5 of seven friendlies earlier than she was made everlasting supervisor.

Her administration caught the eyes of the English FA and in September 2021, after main the Dutch crew to the World Cup remaining, she took over from Phil Neville to educate the Lionesses. A transparent match made in heaven, with Wiegman guiding England to a win on the 2022 Euros and turning into the primary supervisor to win the competitors with two totally different groups.

England have reworked as a crew below her managment, and followers are hopeful that Wiegman can proceed her successful streak with a stable efficiency on the upcoming World Cup.

The 53-year-old will wish to lastly get her arms on the coveted trophy, however is nicely conscious that it will not be clean crusing.

“We have 5 months to go however the video games had been good. We had quite a lot of chats with the crew and we all know we now have to step up extra as a result of the opponents within the World Cup will likely be even higher than we now have had now.”

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