Hannah Dingley becomes first female head coach in English men’s professional football

English football club Forest Green Rovers named Hannah Dingley as its interim head coach Tuesday, making her the first female head coach in English professional football.

Dingley replaces outgoing coach Duncan Ferguson, who was appointed Forest Green manager in January, but was unable to stop the team from being relegated to League 2, the lowest tier of professional English football.

Dingley’s position as head coach is a temporary one as the club looks to find a full-time solution.

“I’m really excited for this next step of my career,” Dingley said in a statement Tuesday.

“Pre-season has just begun and the full season kicks off very soon. It’s an exciting time in football. I am grateful for the opportunity to step up and lead such a progressive and forward-thinking club.”

Dingley joined Forest Green four years ago and remains the only woman in charge of a men’s English Football League Academy, according to a statement from the club.

“Hannah was the natural choice for us to be first team interim Head Coach – she’s done a fantastic job leading our Academy and is well aligned with the values of the club,” Forest Green chairman Dale Vince said Tuesday.

“It’s perhaps telling for the men’s game that in making this appointment on merit, we’ll break new ground – and Hannah will be the first female Head Coach in English (men’s) football.”

Dingley will lead Forest Green onto the pitch Wednesday for its friendly match at Melksham Town.

Under Vince’s ownership, Forest Green has become well known for attempting to make a difference off the pitch.

In 2017, Forest Green became the world’s first vegan club, according to the Vegan Society. Some of its players even switched to a plant-based diet, and it puts sustainability at the heart of everything it does.

FIFA also named Forest Green the “greenest club in the world” in 2017 and it continues to find innovative ways to lower its carbon footprint – such as organic pitches and electric team coaches.

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