Spain Women’s Soccer Team Selects First Female Coach After Predecessor Ousted
The Spain women’s soccer team selects first female coach after predecessor ousted amid unwanted World Cup kiss fallout. The Spanish women's soccer team selected its first female head coach on the same day that her predecessor was ousted amid lingering repercussions from soccer president Luis Rubiales' unwelcome kiss on a player during the Women's World Cup final.
The country's soccer federation (RFEF) declared that Jorge Vilda, the team's head coach, would be replaced by his deputy, Montse Tomé, just hours after he was fired. Tomé will be the first woman to lead the women's national team, and her first match will be against Sweden on September 22.
The moves are part of a big upheaval in Spanish soccer after Rubiales, the RFEF's president, forcibly kissed forward Jennifer Hermoso on August 20. Rubiales has apologized for his behavior and described the kiss as "mutual" - a remark Hermoso refuted, claiming she was not respected.
FIFA, soccer's worldwide governing body, has issued him a 90-day suspension while disciplinary processes are ongoing.
The dismissal of Vilda was officially declared by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) in a statement, wherein they acknowledged his significant contribution to the remarkable development of women's football.
COPYRIGHT_LD: Published on https://ligadeportiva.com/spain-womens-soccer-team-selects-first-female-coach/ by - on 2023-09-07T09:09:11.184Z
Additionally, the RFEF highlighted Spain's achievement as world champions and their current position as the second-ranked team in the FIFA rankings, attributing these accomplishments to Vilda's leadership.
The action was stated by the federation as one of the first restructuring measures announced by (interim) President Pedro Rocha.
The statement continued:
RFEF appreciates his work as the head of the national team and his responsibilities as the maximum sporting figure of the women’s national teams, as well as the successes reaped during his term, crowned with the recent achievement of the World Cup.- Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF)
It also lauded Vilda's "impeccable personal and sporting conduct" and described him as a "key part of the notable growth of women's football in Spain," as well as "a promoter of the values of respect and sportsmanship in football."
Vilda, who previously coached Spain's under-17 and under-19 women's teams, guided La Roja to their first Women's World Cup triumph last month, defeating England 1-0 in the final.
Following the team's World Cup quarterfinal and semifinal victories over the Netherlands and Sweden, videos of what appeared to be cold reactions from some of Spain's substituted players towards Vilda and his staff, as well as during the post-match celebrations, went viral on social media.
Following the win over the Netherlands, Vilda attempted to rejoice with a small group of players, only to be ignored. The players' discontent dates back to September of last year when 15 members of the senior women's squad wrote RFEF individually signed statements through email stating that they would no longer play for the national team unless fundamental changes were made to the coaching staff.
The same letters said that "the situation" inside the Spanish national team - of which the RFEF was "aware" - was harming the players' "emotional state" and health.
Only three of the 15 players who signed the letters were members of Spain's World Cup team: Mariona Caldentey, Aitana Bonmat, and Ona Batlle. CNN had previously approached RFEF and Vilda for comment on the letter but had received no answer.
Following its publication, Vilda called the situation "a world embarrassment" and stated that the remedy was to form a team "only with players 100% committed to the project."
Vilda's controversy has only grown since the World Cup final when footage from the game appeared to show him improperly hugging a female staff member while celebrating Spain's score over England. When reached by CNN via RFEF, Vilda did not answer questions regarding the event.
When Rubiales declined to retire before the federation's Extraordinary General Assembly last month, he also gave his support to Vilda and claimed he was beginning the process of granting the coach a new four-year contract worth $542,000 (€500,000) each year.
On another level, a lot smaller (than my situation), but they wanted to do to you what they’re doing to me now. A false narrative to try to transform it into the truth. We’ve suffered a lot, we’ve gone through a lot, we’ve swallowed a lot, but we’ve been together: you and me and your team.- Luis Rubiales
Throughout the meeting, Vilda, like many others, was observed cheering Rubiales. The next day, though, he published a statement denouncing the ailing soccer chief's conduct.
I am deeply sorry that the victory of Spanish women’s football has been harmed by the inappropriate behavior that our until now top leader, Luis Rubiales, has carried out and that he himself has recognized.- Jorge Vilda
Before Spain's World Cup victory, Vilda guided the team to the knockout rounds of the 2019 competition as well as consecutive quarterfinals in the European Championships in 2017 and 2022. He twice won the under-17 European Championships and the under-19 European Championships as coach of the country's minor women's teams.