Three days after claiming the first trophy in club history and erasing a 13-year title drought for the organization as a whole, Betty Bavagnoli and the rest of Roma's women's team continue to make waves as we flip the calendar to June. While speculation started to bubble several weeks ago that Bavagnoli would leave her post as the only manager in Roma's brief three-year existence, the rumor was lost amidst all the Coppa Italia hoopla and the rush to conclude the season on a high note.
But earlier today, the club confirmed a pair of significant transactions, promoting Betty Bavagnoli to a newly created position: Head of Women's Football. On her new gig, Bavagnoli spoke about maintaining the enthusiasm of Roma's now three-year-old project in women's football:
I am grateful to Roma for having selected me for this role. After three amazing seasons as a coach, I felt that the moment had arrived to start a different chapter.
Roma is known around the world for the incredible enthusiasm of the club’s fans and the sense of belonging it creates: for me it is an honour to be able to try and pass on those values and create a platform to enable a new generation of young girls to dream of representing this club.
Roma GM Tiago Pinto provided a bit of insight into Bavagnoli's new role, which will cover all aspects of “the women's division within the club.”
I would like to thank Betty for all her work as a coach over the last three seasons – the job she has done to improve our girls has delivered obvious results
After winning the Coppa Italia, we are pleased to be able to continue working together and entrust her, her leadership and her experience with overseeing the continued development of this department.
In her new role we are certain she will help us in reaching our objectives: to continue to fight to win trophies on all fronts, and to cultivate a strong team identity
And then, in almost the same breath, the club announced the appointment of Bavagnoli's replacement, former Empoli manager Alessandro Spugna, a 47-year-old Torino native. In her first official statement as the new Head of Women's Football, Bavagnoli introduced Spugna:
We chose Alessandro for his values as both a coach and a person, and we are confident that he is the right individual to begin a new chapter for the club,
Alessandro is a young coach but he has already acquired a lot of experience: his ambition will be crucial as we continue to develop and improve, both as a team and as a club.
Spugna, who began his coaching career with Juve's primavera women's side, took the Empoli post this past season, guiding the Azzurre to a sixth-place finish. On his new challenge, Spugna spoke about the opportunity and potential of managing in Rome:
First and foremost I would like to congratulate Betty, the staff and all the girls for their deserved victory in the Coppa Italia
I would also like to thank AS Roma for the great opportunity they have given me, it’s an honour to be chosen to oversee the continuation of such an important project.
I am joining a unique, prestigious club with a strong squad of players and incredibly passionate fans – and all in the most beautiful city in the world too. I cannot wait to get started!
Roma may have missed their domestic goals this season, but capping her three-year run as Roma's first manager by winning the Coppa Italia was a hell of a goodbye for Bavagnoli, who is now free to shape and mold the Giallorosse from a more detached, bigger picture perspective.
Spugna is a young manager on the rise, but, as is the case anytime a club changes leadership, we'll have to wait and see which players rise and fall under his leadership, to say nothing of which players will remain in Rome.
In her three years at the helm, Bavagnoli managed two fourth-place finishes, one fifth-place finish, a manager of the year award and, of course, the 2021 Coppa Italia—a pretty successful run when you consider the club only came into existence three years ago.
Congrats, Betty and good luck to Ale!