Boyds, MD (May 23, 2018) – The Washington Spirit has hired Lisa Cole in a dual role with the club at the professional and youth levels. Cole will serve as a coach with the Spirit Academy – Virginia program in the U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy, and as a scout for the pro team.
Cole joins the Spirit with more than 20 years of coaching experience at the pro, college and international levels. She was one of the National Women’s Soccer League’s original head coaches, leading the Boston Breakers during the inaugural season.
“We are fortunate to have Lisa join our club,” said Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra. “She provides us with a tremendous resource as we grow and develop our pro and Development Academy player pool and club structure.”
“We are thrilled to have Lisa join the Spirit Academy in Virginia,” said Spirit Academy – Virginia Director Tom Torres. “She will add a tremendous amount of experience to the overall staff, and also add a perspective of coaching and educating at the highest levels of the game. We are extremely fortunate to have her involved and continue to improve our pathway from youth to pro.”
Cole represented the Breakers organization from 2008-2013, including as an assistant coach from 2008-2010 in Women’s Professional Soccer and as head coach in WPSL ELITE from 2011-2012, when she led the club to a regular season championship.
Cole joins the Spirit following a brief stint as an assistant coach with the Houston Dash.
“I can’t thank Jim [Gabarra] and Bill [Lynch] enough for the opportunity to join the Spirit,” Cole said. “I’m looking forward to spending time with all the teams and developing players across all levels of the club. The Spirit have created a professional and welcoming environment and I’m honored to be a part of it.”
At the college level, Cole spent two seasons as head coach at the University of Rhode Island from 2003-2004. She served as an assistant coach for the Florida State University women’s soccer team from 2005-2006, helping lead the Seminoles to the 2005 NCAA Final Four.
From 2000-2003, Cole was an assistant coach at the University of Connecticut. During that time, she helped head coach Len Tsantiris lead the Huskies to two NCAA women’s soccer Elite Eight appearances and one Sweet 16 appearance. The Huskies won three straight Big East regular season championships during Cole’s time with the team.
Cole started her collegiate coaching career as an assistant coach with the University of Mississippi women’s soccer team from 1997-2000. During her three years at Ole Miss, she was a part of the team’s first SEC Western Division title.
On the international level, Cole headed the Papua New Guinea U-20 Women’s National Team during the 2016 U-20s Women’s World Cup; the team’s first appearance in the tournament, where they also served as hosts to the bi-annual FIFA event.
Prior to her coaching career, Cole was a goalkeeper at Pacific Lutheran University from 1993-1997, where she still holds the school record for most saves in a season.
Cole’s appointment the Spirit’s U.S. Soccer Development Academy staff makes her the seventh coach with professional playing or coaching experience involved at the youth level for the Spirit, joining:
- Overall Academy Technical Director – Jim Gabarra, former U.S. Men’s National Team member and 1988 Olympian
- Overall Academy Technical Advisor – Briana Scurry, former U.S. Women’s National Team member, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and 1999 World Cup Champion
- Academy Director – Baltimore – Santino Quaranta, former U.S. Men’s National Team member and forward for D.C. United, LA Galaxy, and NY/NJ Metrostars
- Academy Director – Virginia – Tom Torres, 9-year veteran of D.C. United Academy with time spent as assistant for D.C. United U23 team and MLS team. Current Assistant Coach with the NWSL team
- Academy Assistant Coach – Virginia – Holly Wiles, former U.S. Women’s National Team member
- Academy Speed and Conditioning Coach – Virginia – Lori Lindsey, former U.S. Women’s National Team member and captain of the Washington Spirit NWSL
The Spirit returns to NWSL action tonight at the Maryland SoccerPlex against Sky Blue FC. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. in the weeknight contest. [TICKETS]