Washington Spirit

Last updated
Washington Spirit
Washington Spirit logo.svg
Full nameWashington Spirit
Nickname(s)Spirit
Founded2011;8 years ago (2011)(as DCU Women)
Stadium Maryland SoccerPlex
Boyds, Maryland
Audi Field
Washington DC (select matches)
Capacity4,000
20,000 (select matches)
OwnerSteve Baldwin (majority)
Bill Lynch (minority) [1]
Head Coach Richie Burke
League National Women's Soccer League
2018 8th
Website Club website
Soccerball current event.svg Current season

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]

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Germantown, Maryland Census-designated place in Maryland, United States

Germantown is an urbanized census-designated place in Montgomery County, Maryland. With a population of 90,676 as of 2013 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, Germantown is the third most populous place in Maryland, after the city of Baltimore, and the census-designated place of Columbia. Germantown is located approximately 25–30 miles (40–48 km) outside of the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C. and is an important part of the Washington metropolitan area.

National Womens Soccer League Professional soccer league, highest level of womens soccer in the United States

The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) is a professional women's soccer league owned by the teams, and under a management contract with the United States Soccer Federation. At the top of the United States league system, it represents the sport's highest level in the United States. The NWSL was established in 2012 as a successor to Women's Professional Soccer (2007–2012), which was itself the successor to Women's United Soccer Association (2001–2003). The league began play in 2013 with eight teams, four of which were former members of Women's Professional Soccer. With the addition of three expansion teams in Houston (2014), Orlando (2016), Salt Lake City (2018) and the loss of FC Kansas City and Boston Breakers, it now has nine teams throughout the United States.

Contents

History

Establishment

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] Bill Lynch, the original Washington Spirit's owner when the National Women’s Soccer League launched in 2013, [6] sold the majority of the team to tech executive Steve Baldwin in late 2018. [7] [8]

D.C. United Women

D.C. United Women was an American soccer club based in Washington, D.C. that competed in the USL W-League, the second tier of women's soccer in the United States. The team was an affiliate of Major League Soccer club, D.C. United but operated independently by Washington Soccer Properties, LLC. To participate in the new National Women's Soccer League for the 2013 season, the team re-branded as the Washington Spirit in December 2012.

John Harkes American soccer player and coach

John Harkes is a retired American soccer player who is currently serving as head coach for Greenville Triumph SC.

Inaugural season

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. [9] [10] [11] During the February 7, 2013 NWSL Supplemental Draft, the team selected Stephanie Ochs, Tori Huster, Jordan Angeli, Natasha Kai, Megan Mischler and Heather Cooke. [12] [13]

The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) Player Allocation distributed the national team players that would be paid for by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA), and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) to the eight founding teams of the NWSL. The initial allocation list was announced on January 9, 2013, with the results for the 55 national team players announced two days later. From tweets concerning the first trade in the league between Seattle and Chicago, the allocations looked to be effective for at least the first two NWSL seasons, though this was later shown to be not true as Keelin Winters, who was involved in said trade, was signed as a free agent in the 2013-14 offseason. The 2014 Allocation was reduced to 50 players, Mexico dropping eight slots and the United States adding three. Since 2016, Mexico has not allocated players to the NWSL.

Ashlyn Harris association football player

Ashlyn Michelle Harris is an American soccer player and a two time FIFA Women's World Cup champion who is currently a goalkeeper for the United States women's national soccer team and Orlando Pride in the National Women's Soccer League, the highest division of women's soccer in the United States. She made her debut for the senior national team on March 11, 2013 and was a member of the championship–winning team at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada and at 2019 Fifa Women's World Cup in France.

Ali Krieger womens association football player from the United States

Alexandra Blaire Krieger is an American soccer player for the Orlando Pride of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), the highest division of women's professional soccer in the United States, and the United States women's national soccer team. She first appeared for the United States national team at the 2008 Four Nations Tournament during a match against Canada on January 16, 2008. She has since made more than 100 total appearances for the team.

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. [14]

The Boston Breakers was an American professional soccer club based in the Boston neighborhood of Allston. The team competed in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). They replaced the original Breakers, who competed in the defunct Women's United Soccer Association, as the Boston area's professional women's soccer team.

Tiffany McCarty American professional soccer player

Tiffany McCarty is an American soccer forward who plays for the Washington Spirit in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). She previously played for the Houston Dash, and FC Kansas City in the NWSL as well as Albirex Niigata Ladies in Japan's Nadeshiko League and Medkila IL in Norway.

Stephanie Ochs American soccer player

Stephanie Elise Ochs is an American soccer forward.

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. [15]

Mark Parsons soccer manager

Mark Parsons is an English-American soccer manager and currently the head coach of the Portland Thorns in the National Women's Soccer League.

2014–2016 successes

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 2014 season was Washington Spirit's second season of existence in which they competed in the National Women's Soccer League, the top division of women's soccer in the United States.

Jodie Taylor English association football player

Jodie Lee Taylor is an English footballer who plays as a striker for Reign FC, and currently on loan to Australian club Melbourne City for the 2018–19 W-League season. She began her club career with local team Tranmere Rovers and had brief spells in her home country with Birmingham City, Lincoln Ladies, and Arsenal. A well-traveled player, she has also played in Sweden and the United States.

Christine Nairn association football player

Christine Marie Nairn is an American soccer player from Annapolis, Maryland. She plays for Houston Dash of the NWSL. She previously played for the Orlando Pride, Washington Spirit and Seattle Reign FC in the NWSL and has had regular loan spells with Melbourne Victory in the Australian W-League. She has represented the United States at senior level as well at numerous youth levels. In 2008, she helped the under-20 national team win gold at the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Chile.

The Spirit finished the 2015 season with a record of 8-6-6 and repeating their 4th place league position. [16] The playoff result, again, ended in an away loss to Seattle in the semifinals. [17] 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. [18] 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. [19]

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. [20] 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 [21]

2017–present

The Spirit line up in June 2018. Washington Spirit in June 2018.jpg
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. [22] However, building for the future, Gabarra was able to recruit U.S. national team prospect, Mallory Pugh mid-season. [23] Pugh would go on to lead the team in scoring, registering 6 goals in 16 games. [24] 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. [25] 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. [26] 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 the stadium, and a mascot. [27] 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. [28] 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 badge

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." [29]

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. [30]

Stadium

Maureen Hendricks Field at Maryland SoccerPlex Maureen Hendricks Field at Maryland Soccerplex.jpeg
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. [31] 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. [32] 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. [33] During the 2019 season, the team announced it would host two home matches at Audi Field. [34]

SeasonStadiumLocationCapacityNotes
2013– Maryland SoccerPlex Germantown, Maryland 4,000 [31] Regular season home
2018– Audi Field Washington, D.C. 20,000 [35] Occasional regular season home

Supporters

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. [36] 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." [37]

Broadcasting

At the beginning of the 2019 season the Spirit announced a broadcast partnership with NBC Sports Washington and Monumental Sports Network. [38]

As of April 2017, Washington Spirit games are streamed exclusively by Go90 for American audiences and via the NWSL website for international viewers. [39] For the 2017 season, the Spirit will be featured in three nationally-televised Lifetime NWSL Game of the Week broadcasts on April 22, [40] June 17, and August 19, 2017. [41]

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. [42]

Players and staff

Current squad

Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth. Squad correct as of July 15, 2019. [43]

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

Current staff

As of July 9, 2019 [44] [45]
Executive
Majority OwnerSteve Baldwin
Minority OwnerBill Lynch
Chief Executive OfficerLarry Best [46]
Coaching staff
Head Coach Flag of England.svg Richie Burke
Player/Opponent Analyst Flag of the United States.svg Tom Torres
High Performance Coach Flag of the United States.svg Michael Minthorne
Goalkeeper Coach Flag of England.svg Ian McCaldon
Team Performance Coach Flag of Germany.svg Christian Cziommer
Reserve Team Head Coach Flag of the United States.svg Kati Jo Spisak
Athletic Trainer Flag of the United States.svg Julie Beveridge

Head coaches

As of July 9, 2019
NameNat.TenureMWDLWin %Notes
Mike Jorden Flag of the United States.svg April 6, 2012 – July 1, 2013111379.1%First head coach [15] [47]
Mark Parsons Flag of England.svg July 1, 2013 – September 30, 20155720132435.1% [15] [19]
Jim Gabarra Flag of the United States.svg October 14, 2015 – August 21, 20186519113129.2% [25]
Tom Torres Flag of the United States.svg August 21, 2018 – December 27, 201830120.0%Interim head coach [3] [25]
Richie Burke Flag of England.svg December 27, 2018 – present1153345.5% [3]

Year-by-year

YearLeagueRegular SeasonPWDLPtsPlayoffsTop ScorerAvg. Attendance
2013 NWSL 8th Place22351414Did not qualify Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Diana Matheson (8)3,620
2014 NWSL 4th Place24105935Semi-Finals Flag of England.svg Jodie Taylor (11)3,335
2015 NWSL 4th Place2086630Semi-Finals Flag of the United States.svg Crystal Dunn (15)4,087
2016 NWSL 2nd Place20123539Final Flag of Argentina.svg Estefanía Banini (5)3,782
2017 NWSL 10th Place24541519Did not qualify Flag of the United States.svg Mallory Pugh (6)3,491
2018 NWSL 8th Place24251711Did not qualify Flag of the United States.svg Ashley Hatch (4)3,892
2019 NWSL TBD00000TBDTBDTBD

See also

Related Research Articles

Jim Gabarra is a retired American soccer forward who coached the Washington Spirit National Women's Soccer League team, and previously coached Sky Blue FC and the Washington Freedom women's soccer teams. He played professionally in the American Soccer League, United Soccer League, American Indoor Soccer Association, Major Indoor Soccer League and Western Soccer Alliance.

Diana Matheson Canadian association football player

Diana Beverly Matheson is a Canadian international soccer player. She represents Canada on the Canada women's national soccer team and currently plays for Utah Royals FC in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). She previously played for the Washington Spirit in the NWSL and Team Strømmen in the Toppserien, the top division league in Norway. She is best known for scoring the bronze medal-winning goal for Canada in the 92nd minute against France at the 2012 Summer Olympics. She also won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and gold medal at the 2011 Pan American Games with the senior national team.

Joanna Lohman Association footballer

Joanna Lohman is a retired American professional soccer midfielder/defender who last played for the Washington Spirit of the American National Women's Soccer League. She previously played for the Washington Freedom and Philadelphia Independence. In addition, she served as the general manager of the Washington Freedom Futures, the Washington Freedom Soccer Club's W-League team. Lohman is a former member of the United States women's national soccer team.

The 2013 season was Washington Spirit's first season of existence in which they competed in the National Women's Soccer League, the top division of women's soccer in the United States.

Jasmyne Spencer American professional soccer player

Jasmyne Spencer is an American soccer player who plays as a forward for Reign FC in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). She previously played for Orlando Pride, Western New York Flash and Washington Spirit in the NWSL, Sydney FC, Canberra United and Melbourne City in the Australian W-League, Cypriot side Apollon Limassol in the 2013–14 UEFA Women's Champions League, and Danish side Brøndby IF in the 2012–13 UEFA Women's Champions League.

Estefanía Banini Argentine footballer

Estefanía Romina Banini Ruiz is an Argentine footballer who plays as a forward on loan for Spanish club Levante UD. She also plays for the Washington Spirit in the NWSL and the Argentina women's national team.

Amy Harrison Australian association football player

Amy Bianca Harrison is an Australian international association football player, plays for Washington Spirit in the National Women's Soccer League.

Caprice Dydasco American association football player

Caprice Ka'anohikula Dydasco is an American soccer defender and midfielder who plays for Sky Blue FC in the National Women's Soccer League.

The 2015 season was Washington Spirit's third season of existence in which they competed in the National Women's Soccer League, the top division of women's soccer in the United States.

Shelina Zadorsky Canadian association football player

Shelina Laura Zadorsky is a Canadian soccer player who plays for Orlando Pride of the National Women's Soccer League and the Canada women's national soccer team. She previously played for Australian W-League club Perth Glory and Swedish top-division club Vittsjö GIK. Zadorsky won a bronze medal with Canada at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Aubrey Bledsoe American association football player

Aubrey Bledsoe is an American professional soccer player who plays for the Washington Spirit in the National Women's Soccer League.

The 2016 season was Washington Spirit's fourth season, competing in the National Women's Soccer League, the top division of women's soccer in the United States.

Taylor Smith (soccer) US association football player

Taylor Nicole Smith is an American soccer player who plays as a defender for Reign FC in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and the United States women's national soccer team. She previously represented the United States on the under-23, under-20, and under-17 national teams. Smith helped lead the UCLA Bruins women's soccer team to its first-ever national title in 2013.

Ashley Hatch American association football player

Ashley Hatch is an American soccer player who plays as a forward for Washington Spirit of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). She has also played for the United States women's national soccer team.

The 2017 season is Washington Spirit's fifth season, competing in the National Women's Soccer League, the top division of women's soccer in the United States.

The 2018 season is Washington Spirit's sixth season, competing in the National Women's Soccer League, the top division of women's soccer in the United States. On August 21, the Spirit parted ways with Head Coach and General Manager Jim Gabarra, assistant coach Tom Torres took over as interim Head Coach for the remaining 3 games of the season.

The 2019 National Women's Soccer League season is the seventh season of the National Women's Soccer League, the top division of women's soccer in the United States. Including the NWSL's two professional predecessors, Women's Professional Soccer (2009–2011) and the Women's United Soccer Association (2001–2003), it is the thirteenth overall season of FIFA and USSF-sanctioned top division women's soccer in the United States.

The 2019 season is Washington Spirit's seventh season, competing in the National Women's Soccer League, the top division of women's soccer in the United States. The season is the first to be led by newly appointed head coach Richie Burke.

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