Team boss says Chris Ward was fired after Spirit training accident

Suspension

Chris Ward He was sacked as coach of current NWSL champion Washington Spirit this week After an incident with players in training last Friday I left it, “It is clear to me and everyone, that a change was necessary,” Club President Mark Krikorian Thursday said.

Krikorian declined to go into details, but people familiar with the situation said Ward reprimanded a player, prompting others to defend their teammates.

Tension within the team was already at breaking point and Ward’s job was in jeopardy amid a 1-6-9 record and 15 games without wins, said one person, like others who know the matter, who requested anonymity to speak. He. She.

Krikorian, who said he did not witness the incident, said he had meetings with the players over the weekend and informed the National Football League and its players’ union of the situation. One person said Ward was denied a team retreat for the weekend.

take Then Krikorian and his owner Y.Michele Kang kicked him out on Monday morning. The team then announced the move in a short tweet He did not elaborate until Krikorian’s comments on Thursday.

“There are a lot of things that will slow us down and how we act,” Krikorian said. “So I certainly understand that more information is needed.”

Krikorian also said, given the nature of the situation, “There are limitations to what I will say and what I can say.”

Ward did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Washington Spirit sacks coach Chris Ward

Megan Burke, executive director of the NWSL Players Association, confirmed that Krikorian contacted the association on Sunday. An NWSL spokesperson said the league would investigate the matter.

Ward’s dismissal came about one year after coach Richie Burke was suspended by Spirit for verbal and emotional abuse of players. After achieving the league, sacked. In recent years, several other NWSL coaches have been fired for their treatment of players.

Ward was on Burke’s crew, and upon Burke’s dismissal, he was appointed as interim head coach. he is Led the team to its first championship He got the permanent job.

‘He made me hate football’: Players say they quit NWSL’s Spirit due to coach’s verbal abuse

Someone close to the situation said Ward’s behavior wasn’t as bad as the other coaches who were fired, but he lost the confidence of his players and his relationships with many of them deteriorated. Besides the poor results of the Holy Spirit, that person said, he had reached a breaking point.

Krikorian said, who Join the spirit in June After a long training career in Florida. So I think a combination of factors may have led to this decision. … It was fairly clear that a change was necessary.”

Krikorian said he discussed the team’s direction with the players. He said: “In the end, those decisions will stay with me, but I won’t do my job if I don’t involve players and if I don’t involve the staff in all the different elements.”

Krikorian said he chose an interim coach, pending a background check, though he hasn’t announced who he picked. He said first-year assistant Angela Salem will oversee Saturday’s game in Houston.

Meanwhile, two people close to the team said, Spirit is in the process of adding Mike Bristol, Krikorian’s longtime assistant at Florida State, to the technical staff and possibly the front office. One person said he would not become the interim coach.

People close to the situation said the temporary coach is unlikely to become the permanent mentor, and Spirit plans to conduct a broader search in the off-season. Possible candidates include Mark Parsons, who coached the Washington, Portland Thorns, and, until recently, the Dutch national team.

Krikorian, who coached the Seminoles for three NCAA titles before stepping down early this year, said he has no plans to return to the coaching business.

He said, “Absolutely not.” “That was my previous life. I’m on the next.”

NotesDefender Emily Sonnett, a veteran of the US national team, has been placed on Washington’s season-ending injury list due to a foot disease. You will miss the last six games.

The announcement came a day after Spirit defender Kelly O’Hara pulled out of the US team’s two friendlies next month with a thigh injury.

Washington has active midfielder Marissa Sheva and forward Audrey Harding until the end of the season.

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