Andi Sullivan says new Spirit leadership is ‘a huge relief’

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Washington Spirit midfielder Andi Sullivan is speaking out about the NWSL club’s ownership saga, which came to a dramatic conclusion this week.

Michele Kang acquired the Spirit from Bill Lynch and Steve Baldwin, the team announced Tuesday, after a months-long public battle for control of the club.

“It’s a huge relief just to know things are settled,” Sullivan told reporters during the USWNT’s SheBelieves media availability Friday, adding, “Very excited for the future under Michele Kang… Everyone feels similarly.”

The Washington Spirit players have been vocal in their support for Kang, penning a letter to former owner Baldwin in October demanding he sell the club to her.

“The person we trust is Michele,” the players wrote. “She continuously puts players’ needs and interests first. She listens. She believes that this can be a profitable business and you have always said you intended to hand the team over to female ownership. That moment is now.”

Despite the players’ wishes, the ownership dispute ensued for the remainder of the NWSL season and into the 2022 preseason.

“Once we wrote the public letter, we were excited and thought that would make things go faster,” said Sullivan.

The front-office power struggle began when former head coach Richie Burke was fired amid verbal and emotional abuse allegations. A subsequent NWSL investigation uncovered a toxic work culture for female employees at the club.

“That has been very stressful and tumultuous,” Sullivan said of the ownership saga, “It’s just a huge relief.”

The Washington Spirit will kick off their 2022 campaign on March 19, taking on the Orlando Pride in their Challenge Cup opener.