02.04.2019 13:52 h

Grings writes history as first female fourth-tier coach

Former Germany international Inka Grings is out to rewrite the history books after becoming the first female coach to take charge of a men's fourth-tier club.

Grings, 40, was announced this week as new head coach of SV Straelen, who are fighting to avoid relegation in Germany's western regional division.

Her appointment makes her the first woman to take charge of a men's team at fourth-tier level or above, and comes just months after Imke Wuebbenhorst took charge of fifth-tier side BV Cloppenburg.

Wuebbenhorst sarcastically joked that she would pick her side based on penis length when she was announced as Cloppenburg coach.

After leading her first training session at Straelen on Monday, Grings was equally dismissive about the significance of her gender.

"It is completely irrelevant. Football is a simple sport and so I will give simple instructions," she said.

"I love to be on the training pitch, it is what I live for, so I am really enjoying it."

Grings was a two-time European Champion with Germany as a player, and ended her career as all-time top scorer in the women's Bundesliga.

She has since coached the MSV Duisburg women's team and the male Under-17 team at Straelen's league rivals Viktoria Cologne.

She declared her ambition to take charge of a men's team in an interview with AFP-subsidiary SID back in 2017.

"The pace, the different way of doing things, the chance to achieve more, that's what I strive for," she said.

"I obviously want to write history."

Straelen have a history of giving chances to female coaches, having employed Grings' former team-mate and partner Martina Voss-Tecklenburg as general first team manager between 2003 and 2008.

Voss-Tecklenburg is now head coach of the German women's national team, but still has links to Straelen through her husband Hermann Tecklenburg, who is a major investor at the club.

"It was a great experience to have Martina here before. She noticed so many things that I would never have seen," said Tecklenburg.

"With that in mind, I think it will work well with Inka Grings too."

Grings' first game in charge of Straelen will come against SC Verl on Saturday afternoon.