WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) Mark Parsons has been named the new head coach of the Washington Spirit, returning to the team he led from 2013-15.
Parsons most recently served as head coach of the Dutch women's national team. He parted ways with the team in August after it failed to defend its title at the Women's Euro.
Parsons also served as head coach of the Portland Thorns from 2015-20, leading the team to the NWSL championship in 2017. He was named NWSL Coach of the Year in 2016.
''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,'' Parsons said in a statement Monday. ''By investing in and supporting individuals, you're enabling their growth and creating a chance to build a special team.''
Parsons replaces coach Kris Ward, who was fired in August with six games left in the season. A 1-6-9 record and an undisclosed incident during practice were cited for his dismissal. The team reported the incident to the league and the players' association.
''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,'' said Mark Krikorian, Spirit president of soccer operations.
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