Sarina Wiegman’s winning leadership secrets

Written by Emma Molloy Tuesday 09 August 2022
Sarina Wiegman has distinguished herself as an inspirational leader, and the number of headlines praising her ability to manage the England football team to victory is endless. But how did she do it? Her story suggests it has to be “the people element”
Sarina Wiegman giving a thumbs up

Sarina Wiegman has a proven track record of leading her teams to glory: she did it with the Netherlands’ women’s football team in 2017 and she’s done it again with the England Euros squad in 2022. Using the same resources, she takes her team to the top where her predecessors could not. How does she do it? What is she doing differently as a manager?

Sarina’s story may contain the answer. 

It begins on the streets of the Hague, where she grew up playing football with her twin brother from an early age. She joined her first team, KFC ‘71, in 1987. Then, while playing in the 1988 FIFA Women’s Invitation Tournament, she met the USA’s national coach, Anson Dorrance, who invited her to come and play at the University of North Carolina (UNC). 

There, she demonstrated a natural talent for leading. One former teammate at UNC, team USA superstar Kristine Lilly, describes Sarina’s leadership style as leading by example, speaking only when she felt she needed to.

Sarina’s year-long experience in the USA had a far-reaching effect on her management approach: “You felt that the coaches wanted to make you work hard and develop as a player, but that they also wanted to take care of you… I still use some things I learned that year in terms of how to get the best out of others, and myself.” 

Want to learn more about Sarina Wiegman’s management superpowers?


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