Given the 2021 Champs’ disappointing follow-up season, and yet again being in the market for a new coach, this is a key offseason for the Washington Spirit. However, owner Y. Michele Kang and President of Soccer Operations Mark Krikorian made a major statement by hiring Dawn Scott away from Inter Miami.
Washington Spirit name Dawn Scott Senior Director of Performance, Medical and Innovation. https://t.co/h5J6bE8WRe— Washington Spirit (@WashSpirit) November 1, 2022
Longtime USWNT superfans will be aware of Scott’s work with the national team from 2010-2019. During that time Scott, as the team’s High Performance Manager, was largely credited with growing the team’s edge in physicality and endurance. Scott also spent two years with The Lionesses and Team GB as the Senior Women’s Physical Performance Manager before moving to Major League Soccer as the Performance Director at Inter Miami in 2021.
“It was an extremely hard decision to leave Inter Miami, but this was an opportunity that I could not pass by.
Michele’s vision to build an infrastructure in which all players and staff can thrive is an exciting opportunity. It is such an exciting time to be a part of women’s sport and I cannot wait to get started.” –Dawn Scott; source: Washington Spirit
The opportunity doesn’t solely seem to be about joining the Spirit as a performance coach or manager, but as an opportunity to develop an entire staff focused on the total well-being of Spirit players. In the announcement of Scott’s hire it was noted that she’ll head a newly formed performance department consisting of ‘sports science professionals, a strength and conditioning coach, a physical therapist, medical support, a mental well being specialist, a performance nutritionist/dietitian and more.’
It’s expected that this new department will be staffed and ready ahead of training camp opening in 2023. As such, the Washington Spirit recently posted a slew of job openings (most related to the performance department, but some not).
Unfortunately, outside of the top-tier national teams in women’s sports, plus a handful of clubs attached to larger men’s clubs, this type of staff and commitment is rare among women’s sports. However, that is changing. This season the Kansas City Current opened a new training facility specific to the Current, which includes a high performance chef.
As the sport grows it’s important to invest in these areas that are rarely seen from the outside, but vitally important to the day-to-day physical and mental health of the athletes. The Washington Spirit taking this step by securing such a well-known and effective leader in this arena is an inspiring show of intent.