Julianne Sitch (right) previously coached the women's team at the University of Chicago. (Photo by DANIEL BARTEL/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Chicago Red Stars assistant coach Julianne Sitch is leaving the club to become the head coach of the men’s soccer team at the University of Chicago, the Red Stars announced Wednesday.

“Sitch has done an enormous amount to advance the women’s game, especially with her time at the Red Stars as a key player on the field and a quality professional coach,” associate general manager Michelle Lomnicki said in a statement. “Her work ethic, passion and knowledge of the game has been fundamental to the team’s success the past few seasons. Sitch will be missed but we wish her the best in this incredible opportunity. She is a trailblazer of the sport, both on and off the pitch.”

Previously, Sitch was an assistant coach for the women’s soccer team at the University of Chicago from 2015 to 2017 and again in 2019. During her tenure, the team made back-to-back NCAA Final Four appearances (2016, 2017).

Sitch joined the Red Stars’ coaching staff in 2019, serving as an assistant coach with the team and head coach of the Red Stars Reserves. During her first year coaching the Reserves, the team finished in first in the Lake Michigan Conference of the Women’s Premier Soccer League with seven wins, one loss and two draws.

“The Red Stars has always been a special place to me. I feel very fortunate to not only have represented the crest as a player but as a coach too,” Sitch said in a statement. “I have enjoyed my time working with the players and staff over the past seasons. They inspired and encouraged me to be at my best daily and for that I am thankful. I am going to miss being a part of this team, and I am excited to watch them crush it this season bringing home that championship!”

She played with the Red Stars in 2010 while the franchise was part of the Women’s Professional Soccer League and rejoined the team in 2013 during the inaugural NWSL season. She played 31 games for the club as a defender, leading the team in assists (4) and minutes (1,567) in 2013.

The Red Stars are second in Group B standings for the Challenge Cup after a draw with Racing Louisville FC.