German U23 coach forced to train women as a “punishment”


A male soccer coach is suspended by the regional management committee of his team after the start of a tirade against three referees (two of them women) and – gasp! – forced to train a women’s or girls’ team for a full six sessions.

The story reads like a worthy television seat. (Like this one.)

But that’s exactly what happens in Germany, where Heiko Vogel, coach of Borussia Mönchengladbach’s U23 team, was banned for two games, fined around 1,800 US dollars and ordered to use a women’s team as a punishment for “unsportsmanlike conduct” towards officials to train during a game game in January.

We assume that Vogel should possibly show that women and girls deserve his respect.

But really, it shows the women he spends these six drills with (and female soccer players everywhere) that exercising is a punishment for bad behavior and disregard for their skills lingers in too many corners.

How Nicole Selmer, a journalist with Women in football (Women in football) told ESPN: “This punishment for the Gladbach coach brings the training of a women’s team to a level of social work.”

And if Vogel doesn’t approach these sessions honestly, it will be a waste of time for the women he is supposed to train, a punishment they don’t deserve.

Borussia Mönchengladbach’s U-23 coach Heiko Vogel is “punished” by being forced to coach the club’s women’s team. In 2021. Seriously. (Photo by TF-Images / Getty Images)

It’s kind of a bit more surprising that this kind of sexist thinking persists in Germany, where Angela Merkel has been Chancellor for over 15 years and a world leader for several years.

That being said, the West German Football Association, the sub-division of the German association that imposed Vogel’s punishment, isn’t the only one disparaging women who play the game. Former Manchester United player Phil Neville made several lower-level coaching appearances before being appointed manager of England’s women’s national team in 2018. Neville saw what would be considered a prestigious job by many a mere “stepping stone” on ways to coach men’s club teams.

But it didn’t exactly pay off. Neville was named MLS ‘Inter Miami manager in January, which is not exactly the same as Inter Milan. And it probably helps that one of Neville’s former teammates and friends, David Beckham, is the co-owner and president of Miami.

There is continued denigration of women’s sport here too, usually by the same people who use their wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers for performative outrage. (You know, the “father of daughters …” guy.) These people have no idea that the same women can see their tweets or Facebook posts or hear their “jokes” that downplay women in general or in women’s sports specifically .

Oddly enough, men seized the chance to exercise as organized women’s sport gained traction in this country. For years, stories have been written of the sharp decline in women training women’s teams. In 2019, the University of Minnesota released a report that said only 42 percent of female athletes in NCAA Division I schools were trained by women, a number that was over 90 percent in 1974.

Some of these men are likely to feel that coaching a women’s team is just a stepping stone for some “better” job coaching men. Many have realized that girls and women love the challenge, love the process, are competitive, things that have no gender.

Training women is not a punishment, and it is a shame that the West German Federation is sending the message to a manager who has acted unprofessionally.

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