French club Clermont has hired Helena Costa as its coach for next season, the first time a woman has been hired to lead a professional football team in France.

The second-division club announced the hiring Wednesday on its website, adding that "this nomination should help Clermont enter into a new era" and that she will work closely with developing the club's youth team players.

The 36-year-old Costa, who is Portuguese, previously worked with the youth set up at Benfica, and coached the women's national teams of Qatar and Iran, as well as working as a scout for Scottish club Celtic.

She will replace Regis Brouard. Clermont is in 14th place with two matches remaining.

AP