Washington Spirit names Mark Parsons as new head coach

The Washington Spirit announced that Mark Parsons will rejoin the team as the new head coach, after previously leading the NWSL side from 2013 to 2015.

He replaces Kris Ward, who departed in August following an incident in the Club’s training grounds. Prior to his dismissal, the team had been on a 17-match winless streak.

“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,” Spirit president of soccer operations Mark Krikorian said.

“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.”

Parsons will take over as a familiar figure in the Washington Spirit organization. After his initial departure in 2015, he went on to lead the Portland Thorns to the NWSL Shield in 2016 and the championship in 2017.

He also propelled the Thorns to the Challenge Cup title in 2021.

Parsons went on to lead the Netherlands women’s national team in 2021, taking the team to the summer’s Euros before parting ways when falling in the quarterfinals.

But since the Spirit’s announcement, the head coach said he’s “grateful” for the opportunity. 

“We have a strong foundation of world-class players and we are going to build on that,” he said. “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 D.C. and our supporters can proudly invest in. Michele [Kang] is building a world-class club and I am excited to be a part of it.”