The Washington Post

Spirit names Montoya as its coach for rest of season

- BY STEVEN GOFF

The Washington Spirit on Friday named Albertin Montoya as its interim coach for the remainder of the National Women’s Soccer League season.

Montoya, 47, replaces Kris Ward, who was fired Aug. 22 amid a 17-game winless streak across all competitio­ns and strained relations with the players less than a year after overseeing the club’s first NWSL title.

Montoya’s first game will be Sept. 10 at Audi Field against the San Diego Wave.

“He is a wonderful teacher of the game, and our players will benefit from his developmen­t and leadership,” Mark Krikorian, the Spirit’s president of soccer operations, said in a statement. “We look forward to having Albertin lead this group through the final five regular season matches and are optimistic about what he will be able to add to our club.”

Montoya, 47, is the director of coaching and the technical director of Mountain View Los Altos Soccer Club, a youth operation in northern California that helped develop U.S. World Cup defender Abby Dahlkemper, among others.

Given his deep ties and work commitment­s in the San Francisco area, Montoya is not likely to vie for the permanent job, one person familiar with the situation said.

Montoya was previously a head coach in the NWSL’S forerunner, Women’s Profession­al Soccer, leading FC Gold Pride (northern California) to the 2010 championsh­ip with a roster that included current Spirit players Kelley O’hara and Nicole Barnhart. Montoya guided the U.S. under-17 girls’ national team in 2011-12.

“It’s an incredible honor to be named interim coach,” Montoya — who played at North Carolina State and Santa Clara and made one appearance for San Jose in the 1998 MLS season — said in a statement. “My goal is to provide the best possible experience for these players and do my part to help [owner Y. Michele Kang] and Mark build the foundation for the future of the Washington Spirit organizati­on.”

The Spirit (1-6-10) has not won since the regular season opener May 1, sits in 11th place in the 12-club league and is almost mathematic­ally eliminated from qualifying for the six-team playoffs.

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