Netherlands - Press Conference And Training Session: Group C - UEFA Women's EURO 2022
Getty Images

The Washington Spirit named Mark Parsons as their new head coach on Monday. Parsons, 36, returns to the club after a previous stint with the franchise from 2013 to 2015. He replaces interim head coach Albertin Montoya, who took over the team in late August 2022 after the franchise dismissed former head coach Kris Ward.

The addition to the coaching staff is just the latest in a series of notable offseason moves for the organization. They recently hired Dawn Scott as their first director of performance, medical and innovation. Scott held previous roles with U.S. women's national team, England women's national team, FIFA, UEFA and MLS. She earned two World Cup titles and an Olympic gold medal during her time with the USWNT. 

The club also added Morinao Imaizumi to the technical staff. He was a youth development head coach at the Japan Football Association (JFA), and later became the assistant director of coaching education at the JFA while working with current Spirit president Mark Krikorian's coaching staff at Florida State University for nearly a decade.

Imaizumi has also served as the head coach of multiple Japanese youth national teams and as an assistant coach for the senior team. He was also an assistant for the senior team that advanced to the quarterfinal during the Summer Olympics in Tokyo last year.

Parsons' addition as head coach is a reunion for the Englishman to the D.C. area and the NWSL. Parsons left the league in November 2021 as former Portland Thorns FC head coach to pursue head coaching role with Netherlands women's national team. Parsons and the Netherlands mutually parted ways after an early exit from the 2022 Euro. 

"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," said Spirit president of soccer operations Mark Krikorian. "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."

Parson returns to the league as one of the winningest coaches in history. He won the 2017 NWSL Championship and two NWSL shields in 2016 and 2021. The Thorns made five consecutive playoff appearances and reached two NWSL Championship finals during his time in Portland. 

"When you can connect with the person, you then have a chance of supporting their development as a player to reach the best version of themselves," said Parsons. "By investing in and supporting individuals, you're enabling their growth and creating a chance to build a special team."

As the new head coach, Parsons will have a chance to work with promising young talents in Ashely Sanchez and Trinity Rodman and try to build off previous success with the club. Parsons previously led the Washington Spirit through its first three seasons in the NWSL, making the playoffs in each of his final two seasons. The team navigated a difficult 2022 season after winning the NWSL Championship in 2021.

With a solid support staff currently in place and with a combination of championship-caliber talent and ownership with resources, the Spirit are on a positive path to work their way back into contention for years to come.