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One of the only women on the field at 2018 World Cup says women deserve larger roles in soccer

Category: Sport 

Iva Olivari, the first woman to manage the Croatian national soccer team and one of the only women sitting on any team’s bench during this year’s World Cup, is advocating for better representation of women in the men’s game — off the field, not on it. Olivari, a former top tennis player who became the women’s champion in Croatia and the former Balkan country of Yugoslavia at just 14, has worked for the Croatian Football Federation since 1992. During that time — and especially following her promotion to manager of the national team in 2012 — she says she’s had to face more than her fair share of detractors.


“I have not been discriminated against, but I have heard some remarks like, ‘She should not be there, it would be better if it was a man,’ and ‘He would probably do it better, she doesn’t know much about football,’ and stuff like that. But I don’t care about these remarks,” she told AFP.


What she does care about, she says, are that the players are satisfied with her work managing the team.


“The guys are fantastic. I love them a lot and they respect me. With the older ones I have a sister-brother relationship, because of age. But now the youngest ones already call me Aunt,” Olivari reportedly told several European outlets.


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