Top flight soccer can be a testosterone-fueled environment, but one lady who’s certainly giving as good as she gets is Imke Wuebbenhorst.
Wuebbenhorst has just taken the helm as head coach of the men’s side at BV Cloppenburg. She’s the first woman to pick up the reins and coach not just BV Cloppenburg but any men’s football team in one of Germany’s top five leagues.
The Daily Mail reports that her side currently sits rock bottom of the Lower Saxony Oberliga in the fifth tier of German football.
Wuebbenhorst was headhunted to drag them out of the relegation zone, and she certainly has past form. The 30-year-old won the European title with Germany’s Under-19 team twice and played in the women’s Bundesliga for Hamburg.
It’s an impressive pedigree. After her move to BV Cloppenburg, she began coaching the women’s team in 2016. And now she has the big task of inspiring the broken players of the men’s team to keep their heads up and fight for survival in the lowly fifth tier.
Obviously appointing a female head coach in the lower leagues of German football has courted plenty of media attention, but Wuebbenhorst is focused on the job at hand and is proving something of a master at batting down sexist comments.
At a recent press conference, a reporter thought it would be a splendid bit of banter to ask her if she needed to wear a siren so that she could alert players before entering their dressing room.
Not about to take such nonsense lying down Wuebbenhorst replied, “Of course not, I am a professional – I base my selections on penis length.”
Yet despite her quick tongue, Wuebbenhorst believes gender shouldn’t be an issue and the tenacious coach refuses to regard herself as a pioneer or trailblazer for other women.
Wuebbenhorst explained, “The topic bounces off me. I want to be judged on performances, not on whether I’m a woman or a man. I don’t have a problem commanding authority – I’m a teacher.”
Wuebbenhorst added, “We only have 12 games left to stay in the league. It’s going to be a tough job. Several of my peers have described my new task as a suicide mission, and asked me why I do such a thing, but other clubs are not exactly lining up for me. The only fear I have is that a relegation would be blamed on the fact that I am a woman.”