— FOR RELEASE —
GERMANTOWN, Md. (Dec. 11, 2012) – The Washington, D.C. area’s entry in the new U.S. women’s professional soccer league revealed its identity, home venue and head coach on Tuesday afternoon, the latest step in the exciting return of top-flight women’s pro soccer to the nation’s capital.
Continuing a proud tradition that began with the Washington Freedom of the Women’s United Soccer Association and Women’s Professional Soccer and continued over the past two years with D.C. United Women of the W-League, the new club’s name embodies the passion and dedication of the region’s soccer community and evokes the hopes of a bright new future for the women’s game.
“We sought a name that speaks directly to the history of Washington, D.C. and the patriotism we feel being a part of this great community,” said club general manager Chris Hummer. “One of the core missions of this club is to empower women through sport, and we wanted a name that could be used directly in just about any statement surrounding that topic. We wanted a name that had a lot of Spirit.
“So I’m proud to announce the newest professional sports franchise in the nation’s capital will be known as the Washington Spirit.”
The club’s website is WashingtonSpirit.com and its Twitter handle is @WashSpirit, both of which went live on Tuesday afternoon. Season tickets are already on sale, including “early bird” holiday season specials.
Hummer also announced that Mike Jorden has been named the new club’s head coach, one of several figures from D.C. United Women who will lead the Spirit. Jorden led United Women to a W-League Eastern Conference title (with a regular season record of 11-0-1) and a third-place finish in the league championships last year.
“Mike is an excellent coach on the training field, a strong game tactician, and he’s a great communicator with the players,” said Hummer. “He is also one of the hardest-working coaches off the field. He already bleeds for the club, and I’m confident no one will outwork him off the field – just as I’m confident few will enjoy competing against his team on the field.”
Cindi Harkes is also expected to make the jump to the pro team as one of Jorden’s lead assistants, while former Chelsea FC Reserves coach Mark Parson will head up the club’s W-League team this season and assist with the first team.
Like the WPS Freedom and United Women before them, the Spirit will play their home games in the award-winning Championship Stadium at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Md. The adjacent Discovery Sports Center building also provides locker rooms, meeting rooms, office space, and an indoor facility.
“We could not be more excited to base our operations at the SoccerPlex and want to thank their executive director, Trish Heffelfinger, and everyone there for the amazing support,” said Hummer. “In addition, we’d like to thank John and Maureen Hendricks for all of the effort and resources they have put into professional women’s soccer in this region.
“The SoccerPlex is a perfectly-sized venue for women’s soccer,” he added. “There is also no doubt we’ll have the best playing surface in the league, which we think will help us attract even greater talent than we would otherwise.”
The club will also base its training center at the SoccerPlex, where multiple surfaces across 22 fields will provide ideal facilities for preseason training and match preparations.
“While the name and professional level of this team are new, we are not a new club,” noted Hummer. “We have been operating the past two years with a fully professional mentality, albeit with unpaid players. We played in a great stadium, charged admission, ran all the aspects of a professional game production and fielded great teams with several past, present and future U.S. Women’s National Team stars.
“We’ll have much more news in the coming weeks on coaches, youth academy, sponsors and of course, player signings.”