I've never started a professional football team from the ground up, but I would imagine the most important element in any such undertaking is a capable manager, one who can simultaneously think with the end in mind while also coping with intermittent hiccups along the way. Roma were always bound to run into some obstacles during their first year in Serie A, but having a steady and experienced hand on the sideline was sure to soothe whatever wounds they suffered in their inaugural season.
Fortunately for Roma, they found that presence (and so much more) in Elisabetta "Betty” Bavagnoli. With nearly 20 years of managerial experience, both as a head coach, assistant and even a technical director, Bavagnoli's poise and intelligence were pointed weapons during Roma's debut season.
Taking a roster cobbled together from the remains of several defunct or relegated teams, Bavagnoli formed a cohesive unit, one that was able to survive the ups and downs of Serie A to finish fourth place, and one that reached the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia. And while they didn't garner any silverware this season, Bavagnoli's side looks poised to soon join the ranks of the elite, a trend that didn't go unnoticed by her peers.
For her efforts this season, Bavagnoli was just named the Serie A Coach of the Year. The Panchina D’oro, voted on by all 12 Serie A coaches, is a symbol of not only her excellence as a manager but her respect among her peers.
For her part, Bavagnoli wasted no time in thanking her players and staff at Roma (awkwardly translated):
It’s an acknowledgment that I receive, but I wouldn’t be anyone if I wasn’t supported by the work of the company, the team and the staff. I owe it to them. I also want to share it with the fans who have always been close to us.
A well-deserved honor for Bavagnoli, now let's hope the club follows it up by giving her some reinforcements for next season.