Helena Costa has resigned as manager of Clermont Foot despite only being appointed as manager in May, after the end of the season, reports BBC Sport.

In May, Costa became the highest appointed woman to take control of a men’s squad after she was given the role at the French club. However, she never took charge during an official match and has decided not to continue as head coach, putting the cause for her shock u-turn a day before pre-season training down to unspecified personal reasons.

The departure has left the French club and the media surprised as she announced that she would not be continuing in the post earlier in the week.

Her appointment was a major success for woman’s football as it broke down the barrier between the two genders and suggested that teams of both genders could possibly come in the future.

Opportunity missed?

Initially when she took the job, she had said that if she didn’t believe she could perform the role successfully, she would have taken it. However, the club president Claude Michy believes that she had developed a “problem in confidence” which could have lead to her leaving the post.

Costa later stated that she left because players were being signed without her being informed, according to Sky Sports.

The 36 year old had been coach of the Iranian women’s team as well as the Qatar national women side before taking the job in France.

Experience in the game

Prior to international jobs, Costa was the coach of Sociedade Uniao 1 Dezembro, a Portuguese side in the women’s league, where she won the league back to back in 2007 and 2008 and lead to qualification to the Women’s Champions League. She had previously been coach of men’s side Cheleirense, guiding them to a regional championship. She was a youth coach at Benfica for 13 years as well as being a scout at Celtic.

She had taken over from Regis Brouard, the former Montpellier midfielder, who had lead the team to finish 14th in Ligue 2 in the 2013/14. Brouard had been in charge since 2012 and had struggled to get the team back into the top flight of French football after they re-entered Ligue 2 in 2007 after they had been relegated the year before.

Costa’s appointment was met with plenty of support around European football including the French women’s minister Najat Belkacam and former England women’s team head coach Hope Powell. Before Costa took charge, the highest female coach of a men’s team in Europe was Carolina Morace, who was in charge of Viterbese in Italy’s third division back in 1999, but left after two games.

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