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.