Washington Spirit fires coaches

The Washington Spirit, mired in a five-game losing streak in which the team has been outscored 13-0, has fired head coach Mike Jorden and assistant coaches Kris Ward and German Peri.

(Updating: The press release just came out with this comment: “I feel everyone at the club has, and will continue to have, great respect for Mike as a professional and as a person,” Spirit general manager Chris Hummer said. “But the poor results of the past six weeks have pushed the team into last place, and that’s just not something we can accept. We have the best fans in NWSL, and they deserve a winning team.”)

Spirit Reserves coach Mark Parsons will move up and coach the senior team. JP Sousa, who has been coaching the Spirit’s Super-20 team, will replace Parsons with the Reserves, who are in second place in the W-League’s Northeastern Conference.

Jorden was a holdover from D.C. United Women, the W-League team that morphed into the Spirit this season. Picked by many (OK, everyone except me) to finish last in the NWSL, the Spirit had a promising start to the year, playing close games with nearly every team in the league and posting a record of 1-2-3 through six games. With Seattle posting its second win of the season over the weekend, Washington has slipped to last place, albeit with two games in hand.

Parsons spent six years coaching teams at Chelsea, including the Chelsea Ladies reserve team. He led D.C. United Women’s Under-20 team to a national final. Like the rest of the Spirit’s coaching staff, he also coaches youth teams in the D.C. area.

The Spirit has little time to adjust to a new coach — the team has games July 3, 6, 10 and 14.

In the Spirit’s costly streak, the first three games were easily explained. Portland is one of the top two teams in the league, and the Spirit put up a decent effort on the road. A tired Spirit team lost its next game in Boston. After a three-week break, the Spirit came out flat against Western New York.

The last two games were more troubling. New forward Conny Pohlers was starved for service. Defensive lapses led to easy goals. Ashlyn Harris carried her frustration to the postgame press conference.

As the old saying goes, it’s easier to fire the coach than the players.

So what now?

The move creates more pressure on the players. Jorden already had thrown competition for starting spots wide open, juggling his lineups over the last few games. That competition will intensify now.

And ultimately, a coaching change won’t magically make the team play better. It’s going to be up to the players.

Published by

Beau Dure

The guy who wrote a bunch of soccer books and now runs a Gen X-themed podcast while substitute teaching and continuing to write freelance stuff.

5 thoughts on “Washington Spirit fires coaches”

  1. Sometimes, no matter how good the coach, if he can’t motivate his team to give a better effort it’s time to go. Hopefully the team sees this as a fresh start and the talent they do have, will step up. At this point in the season you need to have a lineup and work on making it produce. No more musical starters.

  2. I’d expect some players to rotate over the next few games. They’ve just started a stretch of five games over 18 days, though thankfully, only the first and last of those are on artificial turf. Still, I’d be surprised if, say, Candace Chapman played every minute.

    If Matheson can play, that will bring some stability. Without her, I think they’re struggling to link up with Pohlers.

  3. Mike Jorden has been a part time youth soccer coach (and not a very good one) all his life, why would anyone think he would be capable of handling a professional team? Front Office is a joke too for hiring him in the first place.

  4. agree with person above, who’s Parsons anyway? Anybody who knows soccer knows that the English teams are no where near the standard that even most college teams are here. Not a lot of experience at all when you compare the Spirit coaching staff with any other team in the league. Good luck!

  5. Seriously??? Jorden was not a very good youth soccer coach? You sound jealous. Did he cut your kid, or just kick your butt every time you played?

    He’s got multiple State Cup titles (something like 7) and at least 1 Region 1 title. I’d say that makes him a top youth soccer coach.

    I’d agree that it may have been a reach to hire him, except for the fact that he proved himself to be more than a youth coach in the W-League, winning the division and taking DC United to the semi-finals in his second year.

    It seems to me that the biggest problem was the fact the Spirit seemed to get the short end of the stick when it came to the allotment of national team players.

    The bottom line is Krieger finally got what she wanted. Let’s see how it works out with the inmates running the asylum.

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