Vera Pauw

Vera Pauw has made a mark in the history of Dutch football by blazing several unique records. She was the first woman who played abroad, the first woman who earned her professional football coaching diploma, one of the first women to serve on the Technical Committee of the FIFA (together with Sylvie Beliveau) and, finally, help lay the foundation of the Dutch Premier League for Women.

Vera, born in Amsterdam, played for five clubs during her career, including four in the Netherlands and one in Italy. Vera started to work for FIFA during her active career. Since 1994 she works in projects for FIFA and UEFA as Instructor, member of the Technical Study Group at World and European Championships, Committee member and officer for special technical projects.

At the end of her active career Vera joined the Scottish football association, where she was coach of the national women’s team. After six years, however, she returned to the Netherlands, to be the successor of Frans de Kat as coach of the Dutch national women’s team, and again assuming responsibility for the overall policy of the development of girls and women’s football in the Netherlands. Her debut as National Coach of the Netherlands in 2004 was unforgettable. World champions Germany asked Netherlands for a practise match after Ghana cancelled. In two days Vera created a team that kept the world champions tied at 0-0. In 2009 The Netherlands qualified for the first time ever for a big final tournament. With no experience and the youngest team of the tournament, she won with her team the bronze medal.

From July 2010 until July 2012, Vera has served as the Technical Director of the Russian Football Union and was during this period interim coach of the Russian National Team. She had the responsibility to build the game to a stable structure. After a period in which she only worked for FIFA and UEFA in projects, she picked up the job as National Coach of South Africa, nr. 52 on the World Ranking List. She qualified for the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio, where the team left an impact as Vera was nominated as FIFA Best Coach of the Year 2016.

In 2009, she won the IOC Special Award for the contribution to the development of women’s sport nationally and internationally, the Emancipation Prize, was the first woman to ever get nominated for the price “Coach of the Year 2009” of The Netherlands and was nominated for the Millenium Shoe Award. In 2013 she was nominated for the “Kleurrijke prijs 2013”. The awards honour her work as a coach and as catalyst in using sport as a tool to empower girls all over the world.