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The 2017 NWSL Champion and 2016 NWSL Coach of the Year Returns to Lead the Spirit into a New Chapter.
Washington, D.C. (11/21/2022) – The Washington Spirit continues its commitment to building a world-class organization by hiring Mark Parsons as the club’s new Head Coach. Parsons is making his return to DC having previously coached the Spirit from 2013 to 2015.
“Mark is one of the best coaches in the sport and we are thrilled to have him guiding our team as we start a new chapter,” said Spirit President of Soccer Operations Mark Krikorian. “After an extensive search process, we are confident that Mark’s experience and accomplishments are what we need as we continue to rebuild this club.”
In Parsons, the Spirit is getting a coach dedicated to the women’s game. Parsons points to his admiration and respect for the players and all they have done to be able to play the sport that they love at the highest level as the reason for his deep commitment to women’s soccer.
Parsons returns to the Spirit after seven years away from the club. Most recently, he spent a year as Head Coach of the Dutch Women’s National Team after serving as Head Coach for Portland Thorns FC from 2016 to 2021. Before making the move to Portland, Parsons led the Washington Spirit through its first three seasons in the NWSL, making the playoffs in each of his final two seasons. His additional coaching experience includes roles with the Washington Spirit Reserves (2013), D.C. United Women U-20 (2012) and Chelsea Women (2004-2010).
With Portland, Parsons led the club to a NWSL Championship in 2017, the NWSL Shield in 2016 and 2021, five consecutive playoff appearances and two NWSL Championship matches. Parsons was named the NWSL Coach of the Year in his first season with Thorns FC and was a finalist for FIFA Women’s Coach of the Year in 2018. Parsons led Portland to a top-three finish in all five of his regular seasons with the club. Additionally, Thorns FC scored 182 goals with Parsons at the helm, more than any other NWSL club across that time frame. The side went on a 12-match unbeaten streak during Parsons’ first season and set the league record for single-season shutouts in his final season with 13.
When it comes to coaching style, Parsons describes his philosophy as “people first” and values human connection in professional development.
“When you can connect with the person, you then have a chance of supporting their development as a player to reach the best version of themselves,” said Parsons. “By investing in and supporting individuals, you’re enabling their growth and creating a chance to build a special team.”
In partnership with Spirit owner Michele Kang and Krikorian, Parsons looks to rebuild and create a team with a consistent winning identity on and off the pitch.
“I am grateful to have the opportunity to return to the Spirit as the Head Coach,” said Parsons. “We have a strong foundation of world-class players and we are going to build on that. I am committed to assembling the best possible team with Mark Krikorian to perform at the highest level day in and day out. We will create a Spirit standard of excellence, one that DC and our supporters can proudly invest in. Michele is building a world-class club and I am excited to be a part of it.”
About The Washington Spirit
The Washington Spirit is the professional women’s soccer team based at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. and Segra Field in Leesburg, VA. Launched in 2012, the Spirit play in the National Women’s Soccer League, the premier women’s soccer competition in North America. For more information about the Spirit, visit www.WashingtonSpirit.com, follow the club on Twitter @WashSpirit and on Facebook at facebook.com/washingtonspirit.