When Chan Yuen-Ting was a child, she forged her mother’s signature and enrolled in a soccer youth leadership program. She signed the paperwork herself because she knew her parents wouldn’t be supportive of their girl’s desire to get so involved with sports.
That program was her springboard. She was eventually offered a statistical analysis position by the manager of Hong Kong Pegasus FC, and today, she’s the first woman to ever lead a professional men’s team in continental competition. The 28-year-old head coach of Hong Kong’s Eastern made history on Tuesday when she took her team to the AFC Champions League. They lost 1-0 to South Korea’s Suwon Bluewings, but put up a great fight.
Last year, Chan won coach of the year honors when she led Eastern to a league championship. For that accomplishment, she was named one of world’s 100 most influential women by the BBC.
“On the pitch I forget my gender as a woman. I just hope to show my abilities,” Chan told AFP last year. “I think no matter your age or your gender, what you need is hard work.”
Here’s more on the ground-breaking coach.
Real women don’t watch futbol. Real women coach futbol.