Jorge Vilda, the former head coach of the Spain women’s national team that won the 2023 Women’s World Cup nearly two months ago, has been hired as the head coach of the Morocco women’s national team, The Athletic reported Thursday. Vilda’s new job in Morocco comes five weeks after the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) fired him amid the Luis Rubiales scandal.
The inciting incident that led to Vilda’s firing happened Aug. 20, the day the Spanish team won the World Cup. During the medal ceremony, Rubiales, who was the RFEF president at the time, forcibly kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso, who did not give her consent. Rubiales was also heard in the locker room talking about how he wanted to marry Hermoso.
Hermoso continually said that she had not given Rubiales permission to kiss her, and alleged that she’d been pressured by Vilda, 42, and others to say that the kiss was consensual (which Vilda has denied). In the fallout from the kiss, every coach but Vilda resigned in protest when Rubiales refused to step down.
When the RFEF finally fired Vilda on Sept. 5, he released a statement that showed he possibly didn’t quite grasp why it was happening.
“After everything that was achieved, after giving everything working, my conscience is clear: I have given 100% over 17 years and I do not understand [the decision], I did not deserve my sacking,” Vilda said via the Guardian. “This team’s success will be valued more with time. I am left with the doubt over what the footballing criteria are that mean I am not continuing as coach. It is a strange situation. What hurts most is that my honor and behavior are questioned.”
On-field success isn’t the only thing that keeps coaches and managers in their jobs, something Vilda may have forgotten. Winning the World Cup doesn’t matter if his players dislike him, which was true in this case.
In fact, Vilda’s players disliked him long before he was fired. In September 2022, 15 members of the women’s national team resigned, saying they wouldn’t play for the team again until Vilda’s “dictatorial” working conditions were reversed. Reports alleged Vilda had searched players’ bags without their permission and demanded to know their every move, an atmosphere the players said negatively impacted their mental, emotional, and physical health. Additionally, the players reportedly did not like how Vilda managed the team’s training or how his staff handled injuries.
Despite all that, Spain managed to win the World Cup. Now Morocco will find out whether all the baggage Vilda is bringing from his previous job is worth his World Cup experience.