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The Washington Spirit is an American professional soccer club based in Germantown, Maryland that participates in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). It is a continuation of the D.C. United Women of the W-League and continues to field both an amateur WPSL team[2] and a youth team, both under the Spirit name. The Spirit is coached by Richie Burke.[3]

Washington Spirit
Washington Spirit logo.svg
Full nameWashington Spirit
Nickname(s)Spirit
Founded2011; 8 years ago (2011) (as DCU Women)
StadiumMaryland SoccerPlex
Boyds, Maryland
Audi Field
Washington DC (select matches)
Capacity4,000
20,000 (select matches)
OwnerSteve Baldwin (majority)
Bill Lynch (minority)[1]
Head CoachRichie Burke
LeagueNational Women's Soccer League
20188th
WebsiteClub website
Current season

HistoryEdit

EstablishmentEdit

The foundation of the National Women's Soccer League was announced on November 21, 2012, with Washington selected as a host for one of the eight teams selected for the inaugural season.[4] In December 2012, the team's name was announced as the Washington Spirit. D.C. United Women head coach Mike Jorden was kept on as well as assistant coach Cindi Harkes. Harkes is the wife of former U.S. international and D.C. United star John Harkes.[5] It is owned by Bill Lynch , who has owned the Washington Spirit since the National Women’s Soccer League launched in 2013.[6]

Inaugural seasonEdit

On January 11, 2013 as part of the NWSL Player Allocation, goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris (USA), defender Ali Krieger (USA), midfielder Lori Lindsey (USA), defender Robyn Gayle (CAN), midfielder Diana Matheson (CAN), defender Alina Garciamendez (MEX) and midfielder Teresa Worbis (MEX) were named to the team.[7][8][9] During the February 7, 2013 NWSL Supplemental Draft, the team selected Stephanie Ochs, Tori Huster, Jordan Angeli, Natasha Kai, Megan Mischler and Heather Cooke.[10][11]

The Spirit played their first competitive match on April 14, 2013, drawing Boston Breakers 1–1 with Tiffany McCarty scoring the team's first goal assisted by Stephanie Ochs.[12]

The inaugural season saw the Spirit stumble out of the gate under Mike Jorden, who was fired after the first eleven games having won only once in that time. Jorden was replaced by Mark Parsons, who finished the season in 8th (last) place registering only 2 more wins over the season.[13]

2014–2016 successesEdit

After a poor inaugural season, the Spirit would much improve in the 2014 making some key acquisitions including Jodie Taylor and Christine Nairn, both who would finish as the team's tops scorers with 11 and 8 goals, respectively. Finishing 4th, the Spirit made their first NWSL Playoff appearance. They would lose at Seattle Reign.

The Spirit finished the 2015 season with a record of 8-6-6 and repeating their 4th place league position.[14] The playoff result, again, ended in an away loss to Seattle in the semifinals.[15] The season would be the breakout year for Crystal Dunn who was awarded the 2015 NWSL Golden Boot Award, scoring 15 goals during the campaign.[16] At the conclusion of the season, Mark Parsons stepped down as head coach and general manager to take over as coach of the Portland Thorns.[17]

Building off the successes of the 2014 and 2015 seasons, the Spirit hired former Sky Blue FC manager, Jim Gabarra ahead of the 2016 season.[18] The Spirit had their most successful season to date in 2016, being league leaders in the standings throughout most of the season. Only in the final week would the Spirit's loss finalize them as league runners-up. Earning their first post-season victory against Chicago Red Stars, the Spirit would lose the 2016 NWSL Final in penalties to Western New York Flash[19]

2017–presentEdit

 
The Spirit line up in June 2018.

In the aftermath of finishing 2016 runners-up, the Spirit saw a series of key departures including captain Ali Krieger (traded to Orlando Pride), Christine Nairn and Diana Matheson (both traded to Seattle Reign), and Crystal Dunn leaving for Chelsea, while retaining her contracting rights. Unable to adequately replace these players, the Spirit struggled to compete throughout the 2017 season ultimately finishing last (10th) for the first time since the inaugural season.[20] However, building for the future, Gabarra was able to recruit U.S. national team prospect, Mallory Pugh mid-season.[21] Pugh would go on to lead the team in scoring, registering 6 goals in 16 games.[22] The 2018 season continued the Spirit's pursuit of young talent, but also continued the struggle for results. On August 21, after eight straight losses and being eliminated from playoff contention, the Spirit fired head coach, Jim Gabarra, and appointed assistant coach, Tom Torres as interim head coach.[23] Torres lead the Spirit through the final three matches of the season at home, including the Spirit's debut at newly opened Audi Field against Portland Thorns on August 25. The match set a new club record for home attendance with 7,976 fans.[24] The season ended with the Spirit finishing in 8th place, just ahead of Sky Blue FC. During the offseason, the Spirit appointed Richie Burke as the new head coach while retaining Tom Torres on the technical staff. The announcement also noted local tech executive, Steve Baldwin had become the Spirit's new majority owner.[3]

The 2019 Washington Spirit season marked several changes internally for Spirit organization. Owner Steve Baldwin outlined several improvements including an upgraded player experience, theme nights for fans, a gear store in stadium, and a mascot.[25] The 2019 season also featured major changes on the field. 15 new players were added to the Spirit roster including Australian national team members Chloe Logarzo and Amy Harrison.[26] The Spirit surpassed their point total from the previous season on 5/18/2019 after the 5th game of the season against Portland Thorns FC. They would go on to surpass their past season's point total the next week against the Chicago Red Stars. They are currently 4th in the NWSL standings.

Colors and badgeEdit

In January 2013, the team unveiled its new colors and badge. The badge was designed to resemble a torch reflecting the notion of "Burning with Spirit." It also contains a crown that holds 11 stars to represent the 11 players on the field and a ball with a single star to represent the 12th player (the team's fans) placed where the fuel for the torch would be representing how the fans "fuel the spirit." All of the components of the badge are "wrapped in the Banner of Spirit for a patriotic theme honoring our flag and all of those who have given their lives and sacrificed much so we can enjoy the freedoms we have."[27]

The logo was designed by freelance designer, Pete Schwadel and incorporates the team colors of navy, red, and white further reinforcing the patriotic theme woven throughout the team's history. It also features both "Washington" and "DC" to represent the team's connection with the District and the greater Washington metropolitan area.[28]

StadiumEdit

 
Maureen Hendricks Field at Maryland SoccerPlex

The Maryland SoccerPlex, located in Germantown, Maryland, has been home to the Washington Spirit since the inaugural 2013 season.[29] The Spirit play their home games at the main stadium, named Maureen Hendricks Field in June 2013 in honor of Hendricks’ role in the development of women’s professional soccer and the SoccerPlex facility.[30] The facility is also home to the Washington Spirit Reserves in the WPSL.

Starting during the 2018 season, the Spirit began coordinating with DC United to play home matches at Audi Field in Buzzard Point in Washington D.C. The Spirit played their first match on August 25 that season, hosting the Portland Thorns. The match registered the team's highest attended game and was viewed as a means to generate more interest in the team.[31] During the 2019 season, the team announced it would host two home matches at Audi Field.[32]

Season Stadium Location Capacity Notes
2013– Maryland SoccerPlex Germantown, Maryland 4,000[29] Regular season home
2018– Audi Field Washington, D.C. 20,000[33] Occasional regular season home

SupportersEdit

The Spirit Squadron is the name of the supporter's group for the Spirit. The group was started by three friends – Ashley Nichols, Megan Wesson and Tory Johnson.[34] Of the group's founding, Nichols said, "... with a new league we needed to show the team as much support as possible because we really want a women's pro league to stay here in the United States. So between that and wanting to also provide a fun experience for fans, we decided to create the Spirit Squadron." [35]

BroadcastingEdit

At the beginning of the 2019 season the Spirit announced a broadcast partnership with NBC Sports Washington and Monumental Sports Network.[36]

As of April 2017, Washington Spirit games are streamed exclusively by Go90 for American audiences and via the NWSL website for international viewers.[37] For the 2017 season, the Spirit will be featured in three nationally-televised Lifetime NWSL Game of the Week broadcasts on April 22,[38] June 17, and August 19, 2017.[39]

In 2016, the Spirit's NWSL Playoff game against the Chicago Red Stars was broadcast on Fox Sports 1 and was available for streaming on the company's online streaming platform, Fox Sports Go.[40]

Players and staffEdit

Current squadEdit

Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth. Squad correct as of July 15, 2019.[41]

No. Position Player Nation
1 Goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe   United States
2 Forward Arielle Ship   United States
3 Defender Sam Staab   United States
4 Midfielder Jordan DiBiasi   United States
5 Defender Megan Crosson   United States
6 Midfielder Chloe Logarzo   Australia
7 Defender Amy Harrison   Australia
8 Midfielder Meggie Dougherty Howard   United States
9 Defender Tegan McGrady   United States
10 Midfielder Rose Lavelle   United States
11 Forward Mallory Pugh   United States
12 Midfielder Andi Sullivan   United States
13 Midfielder Bayley Feist   United States
14 Forward Paige Nielsen   United States
16 Forward Tiffany McCarty   United States
17 Forward Cali Farquharson   United States
18 Defender Mackenzie Berryhill   United States
19 Midfielder Dorian Bailey   United States
20 Forward Cheyna Matthews   Jamaica
22 Forward Mallory Eubanks   United States
23 Midfielder Tori Huster   United States
24 Defender Carlin Hudson   United States
28 Midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight   Australia
30 Goalkeeper Shea Yanez   United States
31 Forward Crystal Thomas   United States
32 Forward Grace Cutler   United States
33 Forward Ashley Hatch   United States

Current staffEdit

As of July 9, 2019[42][43]
Executive
Majority Owner Steve Baldwin
Minority Owner Bill Lynch
Chief Executive Officer Larry Best[44]
Coaching staff
Head Coach   Richie Burke
Player/Opponent Analyst   Tom Torres
High Performance Coach   Michael Minthorne
Goalkeeper Coach   Ian McCaldon
Team Performance Coach   Christian Cziommer
Reserve Team Head Coach   Kati Jo Spisak
Athletic Trainer   Julie Beveridge

Head coachesEdit

As of July 9, 2019
Name Nat. Tenure M W D L Win % Notes
Mike Jorden   April 6, 2012 – July 1, 2013 11 1 3 7 9.1% First head coach[45][13]
Mark Parsons   July 1, 2013 – September 30, 2015 57 20 13 24 35.1% [13][17]
Jim Gabarra   October 14, 2015 – August 21, 2018 65 19 11 31 29.2% [23]
Tom Torres   August 21, 2018 – December 27, 2018 3 0 1 2 0.0% Interim head coach[23][3]
Richie Burke   December 27, 2018 – present 11 5 3 3 45.5% [3]

Year-by-yearEdit

Year League Regular Season P W D L Pts Playoffs Top Scorer Avg. Attendance
2013 NWSL 8th Place 22 3 5 14 14 Did not qualify   Diana Matheson (8) 3,620
2014 NWSL 4th Place 24 10 5 9 35 Semi-Finals   Jodie Taylor (11) 3,335
2015 NWSL 4th Place 20 8 6 6 30 Semi-Finals   Crystal Dunn (15) 4,087
2016 NWSL 2nd Place 20 12 3 5 39 Final   Estefanía Banini (5) 3,782
2017 NWSL 10th Place 24 5 4 15 19 Did not qualify   Mallory Pugh (6) 3,491
2018 NWSL 8th Place 24 2 5 17 11 Did not qualify   Ashley Hatch (4) 3,892
2019 NWSL TBD 0 0 0 0 0 TBD TBD TBD

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Bill Lynch - LinkedIn". Retrieved 16 December 2012.
  2. ^ "Washington Spirit Reserves 2016 — Washington Spirit". washingtonspirit.com. Retrieved 2016-09-10.
  3. ^ a b c d Steven Goff (27 December 2018). "NWSL's Washington Spirit hires Richie Burke as head coach". Washington Post. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  4. ^ "U.S. Soccer to announce new women's professional league today". Leagues. Soccer Wire. November 21, 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
  5. ^ Kassouf, Jeff. "New DC team named Washington Spirit". Equalizer Soccer. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  6. ^ goff, steve (October 10, 2018). "Washington Spirit owner in talks about selling majority share of NWSL club". Washington post.
  7. ^ "NWSL allocation easier said than done". ESPN. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  8. ^ "Player distribution sees NWSL take shape". FIFA. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  9. ^ Bell, Jack (11 January 2013). "New Women's League Allocates Players". New York Times. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  10. ^ "NWSL Supplemental Draft results". The Equalizer. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  11. ^ "Washington Spirit focused on offense during the NWSL Supplemental Draft". NWSL News. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  12. ^ "Breakers come back to draw with Washington". Boston Breakers. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  13. ^ a b c Sean Sedam (July 1, 2013). "Washington Spirit Fire Coach Mike Jorden". Germantown Patch. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  14. ^ "MATHESON PENALTY NOT ENOUGH TO OVERCOME THE REIGN — Washington Spirit". washingtonspirit.com. Retrieved 2015-10-21.
  15. ^ "WASHINGTON SPIRIT FALLS TO SEATTLE REIGN FC 3-0 IN HARD FOUGHT SEMIFINAL — Washington Spirit". washingtonspirit.com. Retrieved 2015-10-21.
  16. ^ "Spirit forward Crystal Dunn wins 2015 Golden Boot". washingtonspirit.com. September 7, 2015. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  17. ^ a b Steven Goff (September 30, 2015). "Mark Parsons steps down as Washington Spirit coach and GM". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  18. ^ Steven Goff (October 14, 2015). "Soccer Insider Jim Gabarra named coach, general manager of Washington Spirit". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  19. ^ Alexandra Grant (October 18, 2016). "Washington Spirit 2016 NWSL season review". Vavel. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  20. ^ Emily Kesel (October 24, 2017). "2017 NWSL season review: Washington Spirit". Vavel. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  21. ^ "Washington Spirit acquires U.S. Women's National Team forward Mallory Pugh". washingtonspirit.com. May 13, 2017. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  22. ^ Emily Kesel (October 24, 2017). "2017 NWSL season review: Washington Spirit". vavel.com. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  23. ^ a b c "Washington Spirit parts ways with head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra". August 21, 2018. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  24. ^ "Washington Spirit finally score, but have to settle for 1-1 draw with Sky Blue FC". Washington Spirit. August 25, 2018. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  25. ^ sambishopcws (2019-04-09). "A Statement from our new Ownership Group member – Steve Baldwin". Washington Spirit. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  26. ^ Cavalier, Mason (2019-07-03). "How every new player has contributed to the Spirit's resurgent season". Washington Spirit. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  27. ^ "Spirit unveil new logo with a lot of meaning". Washington Spirit. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  28. ^ Linehan, Meg. "Washington Spirit revamp logo, add more VIP seats". Equalizer Soccer. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  29. ^ a b "Washington Spirit Pro Team". Washington Spirit. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
  30. ^ "Flash unbeaten in last six with win over Spirit". The Equalizer. June 15, 2013. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  31. ^ Jason Anderson (25 August 2018). ""Excited" Washington Spirit hoping game at Audi Field is a long-term boost". Black and Red United. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  32. ^ Steven Goff (4 April 2019). "Washington Spirit set to play a pair of matches at Audi Field". The Washington Post. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  33. ^ "Audi Field". dcunited.com. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  34. ^ "About the Squadron". Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  35. ^ "NWSL Supporters Groups ready for the season to start". NWSL News. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  36. ^ Casteel, Quinn (2019-01-30). "Washington Spirit, Monumental Sports Network and NBC Sports Washington Announce Broadcast Partnership". Washington Spirit. Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  37. ^ "NWSL, go90 announce exclusive streaming partnership". Black and Red United (SBNation). Vox Media. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  38. ^ "S2017 E2 Orlando Pride vs. Washington Spirit". Lifetime. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  39. ^ "NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime schedule". National Women's Soccer League. April 16, 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  40. ^ "WNT on TV: Washington Spirit vs Chicago Red Stars". US Soccer. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  41. ^ "Roster - Washington Spirit". Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  42. ^ "Coaching Staff".
  43. ^ "Front Office".
  44. ^ "Washington Spirit hires Larry Best as CEO". SoccerWire.com. 4 January 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  45. ^ "D.C. United Women Name Mike Jorden First Head Coach". washingtonspirit.com. April 6, 2012. Retrieved April 22, 2017.

External linksEdit