Sarina Wiegman is receiving her coronation on the world stage, leading England to the UEFA Women’s Euro final at Wembley Stadium.
The Lionesses manager boasts an impressive résumé. As manager for the Netherlands, she led that team to a 2017 EURO title and 2019 World Cup final appearance.
Wiegman’s appointment to the England job in September 2021 catapulted the 52-year-old to an even greater level of international football fame after years of quiet and consistent success with the Dutch.
A former player herself, Wiegman captained the Netherlands national team, becoming the first Dutch player to log 100 caps in 2001. Wiegman also has experience playing in the United States, competing alongside Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly on the North Carolina Tar Heels women’s soccer team for the squad’s championship 1989 season.
After retiring from professional soccer in 2003, Wiegman signed on as manager of Ter Leede in 2006, a club she used to play for. Then, in 2007, Wiegman became head coach of ADO Den Haag, a club in the the new Dutch league Eredivisie. In her seven-year tenure, Wiegman led the team to two league titles before moving on to be assistant coach of the Dutch national team.
After an interim stint as manager of the national team in 2015, Wiegman was named the permanent manager in 2017, just months before the World Cup.
With players such as Lieke Martens, Danielle van de Donk, Sherida Spitse and Vivianne Miedema at her disposal, Wiegman quickly transformed the Netherlands into international contenders.
She led Women's EURO hosts @oranjevrouwen to victory in 2017🏆🇳🇱Now @wiegman_s will attempt to do the same at #WEURO2022 after being appointed to coach hosts @Lionesses from September 2021🏴 pic.twitter.com/bRn1lLlWx1— UEFA Women's EURO 2022 (@WEURO2022) August 14, 2020
She led Women's EURO hosts @oranjevrouwen to victory in 2017🏆🇳🇱Now @wiegman_s will attempt to do the same at #WEURO2022 after being appointed to coach hosts @Lionesses from September 2021🏴 pic.twitter.com/bRn1lLlWx1
Known for her no-nonsense and low-key demeanor, Wiegman let the results do the talking, staying out of the spotlight even as the Netherlands rose through the ranks.
Her direct way of communicating, honed during her time with the Dutch, has become a staple of Wiegman’s approach.
“What she has done really well is to know where her qualities are,” former Dutch goalkeeper Loes Geurts told The Athletic. “The staff members around her were all picked to contribute so they would make a complete team together.”
As a manager, Wiegman also has proved she isn’t afraid to make daring, perhaps even controversial, personnel decisions. Her conviction, however, grounds Wiegman’s bold choices in reason and logic.
Early in her time with the Netherlands, Weigman benched Mandy van den Berg, a move she’s replicated at England, leaving former Lioness captain Steph Houghton off the team’s Euros roster.
While risky, the change has paid off for the Lionesses, with England’s youth shining under Wiegman’s leadership. Forward Beth Mead, in particular, has succeded in Wiegman’s system, scoring a record six goals during England’s Euros run. The 23-year-old Alessia Russo is also thriving under Wiegman, with her success punctuated by a backheel goal for the ages.
.@alessiarusso7 are you kidding me?? 🤯#WEURO2022 pic.twitter.com/gyY7yzPMyi— Just Women’s Sports (@justwsports) July 26, 2022
.@alessiarusso7 are you kidding me?? 🤯#WEURO2022 pic.twitter.com/gyY7yzPMyi
“She’s brought such a great environment and culture to the team,” Mead said of Wiegman. “There’s a lot of clarity in the way we’ve played. And it’s that identity that has benefited England so greatly.”
Wiegman has England committed to a high press, with the Lionesses’ offense fueled by winning the ball high up the pitch. Her attack-minded approach has resulted in exciting football, with England logging 104 goals and conceding just four in Wiegman’s 19-game tenure.
Now Wiegman has the chance to underline her name in the history books as she readies her side to play in front of a home crowd at Wembley Stadium with a Euros trophy on the line. The Lionesses are going for their first major international title.
“We want to inspire the nation,” Wiegman said. “We hope that in the end, the whole country is proud of us and even more girls and boys will start playing football.”