LONDON (Reuters) – Fourth tier side Forest Green Rovers appointed Hannah Dingley on Thursday as the first woman to manage a club academy in English men’s league soccer.
The League Two club are renowned for doing things differently, known as the world’s greenest football club as well as the first to go vegan in England and first to become carbon neutral.
“Football typically does the same thing repeatedly and waits for results to change without making changes,” the 35-year-old Dingley, who has a UEFA pro licence, told the club website.
“It feels like I’ve got a chance to innovate here and do things differently,” she added, describing the opportunity as a ‘perfect blank canvas’.
Dingley has previously coached women’s teams at Nottingham Forest, Leicester City and Lincoln and was head of coaching at League One side Burton Albion’s academy.
“Hannah is a great addition to the team at FGR,” said Forest Green chairman Dale Vince, a former New Age traveller who founded and owns renewable energy company Ecotricity.
“She has the experience, passion and skill to really drive our academy onward, giving our young players their best shot at first-team football,”
“There’s a good cultural fit too; we share an interest in innovation, in looking to improve and do things differently, and a fearless approach when it comes to breaking the mould. That’s very FGR.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)