We’re going back, back to the future. Today the Washington Spirit announced the return of Mark Parsons, this time being named head coach outright.
Spirits say hello to your new Head Coach ... Mark Parsons is back in the District! pic.twitter.com/VHLtgBo1HZ— Washington Spirit (@WashSpirit) November 21, 2022
Parsons was a coach with the Washington Spirit in 2013, when he was promoted to head coach midseason. He had success in his time with the Spirit, making the playoffs in his first two full seasons as coach (Spirit faithful will remember Crystal Dunn’s 2015 season in which she won the Golden Boot and MVP).
In 2015 the Portland Thorns came calling and Parsons traded coasts to guide the Pacific Northwest powerhouse. With the Thorns, Parsons won an NWSL Championship in 2017, the NWSL Shield in 2016 and 2021, and also has a 2021 Challenge Cup trophy on his resume.
As for the Spirit, there’s a lot of work to be done. So it’s unsurprising that, given his record and history, that owner Y. Michele Kang and President of Soccer Operations Mark Krikorian would have Parsons high on their list.
“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. 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.” -Mark Krikorian; source: Washington Spirit
Though his most recent stint with the Netherland’s women’s national football team did not go as well as he would have hoped, Parsons has always been a successful club coach. His people first process has had good results in the NWSL regarding both team and club culture, but also winning. Both elements are hard to come by, and particularly intriguing to this iteration of the Washington Spirit given recent history at the club.
Parsons and Krikorian will need to hit the ground running. After last week’s roster announcement, there are a lot of holes to fill fast, and with quality. The Washington Spirit also do not have a first round draft pick, so will have to recruit within the league or internationally to find talent that can do a job straight away.
How they will approach these tasks remains to be seen, but for now Parsons is eager to return to the league in which he’s had the majority of his success as a coach, and to a club that should be familiar in name only.
“I am grateful to have the opportunity to return to the Spirit as the Head Coach,. 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.” -Mark Parsons; source: Washington Spirit
Welcome back, Mark! Let’s get to work...