Open Letter: Jim Gabarra addresses fans about recent trades, off-season plans

Washington Spirit  |   November 11, 2016
Open Letter: Jim Gabarra addresses fans about recent trades, off-season plans Featured Image

Dear Washington Spirit Fans,

In light of the response to our recent trades here at the Spirit over the past two weeks, I feel it’s important to share some reasoning and information with our fans. While I can’t share everything, we understand and value the emotional connection our fans have with our players and club, so I’ll share as much as I can, in the hope you can feel the same level of optimism I have for our future.

The Spirit certainly had a historic and successful season in 2016, my first at the club. The entire club and our fans collectively achieved great things through togetherness, hard work, and commitment at every level. It was especially rewarding and something I’ll never forget. I hope we can all look back a year ago and see the result of the changes made then as well as acknowledge the job done by new and returning staff and players.

That said, my role as general manager is to continue to evolve and improve the club and the roster. In doing so, there are numerous factors and decisions to be made, often based on dozens of moving parts involving multiple points of interest. In most every case, the public will never see or know all of the reasons, so it’s very understandable that official public releases of information can cause strong emotions.

As you know, 2016 was my first season with the Spirit, as it was for Denise Reddy as my assistant coach. We both came into a new situation a with solid returning core of very talented staff and players. This was enhanced with a good draft class and successful new signings, and together we grew and learned. Reaching the NWSL Championship match in Houston was great, however it’s still my job to look forward and continue to put things in place that give the club the best chance to keep reaching for our goals. As is the case with every team in pro sports changes must be made because no matter how successful a season, things can always be better.

Before making any changes, I evaluate each and every aspect of the club, taking into consideration input from my staff, talking to players, and then create a plan to improve and move forward. Just as was the case a year ago, the plan for the 2017 roster requires changes and improvements. These changes are not taken lightly, and are always difficult. Not everyone completely agrees with these changes as they happen, sometimes even including the owner. But I assure you that the only factors ever used in making these decisions are about how to put the best team on the field every day. I would never make any player trades based on any other factors, and ask for our fans’ consideration as we go through the changes that all NWSL teams go through this time of year.

Thanks for your continued support.

PS. We always want fan feedback and have a survey running just for that reason here.

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