In the end, Angel City FC chose to stay in house for its new head coach, dropping the interim tag from Becki Tweed. But the decision came after serious deliberation.
The Los Angeles-based NWSL club was committed to finding the right fit. So committed, in fact, that Tweed was competing against roughly 52 candidates for the position, general manager Angela Hucles Mangano revealed Friday.
In the end, Tweed’s work in bringing together Angel City players in her months as interim head coach put her at the head of the pack. After stepping into the interim role in June, Tweed finished with a 6-1-4 record in the regular season, and she led the club to its first playoff berth.
“I think there was an early, very early inkling from the early success,” Mangano said Thursday. “But ultimately, and as [team president Julie Uhrman] mentioned before, one of the commitments that I had was to a thorough process.”
Angel City made sure to involve players in that process. But Mangano also didn’t want to make the search a distraction as they made their run to the playoffs.
“I did not want the process to be a distraction to Becky or the players,” Mangano said. “And so they kept winning and we wanted to be sensitive to the timing of their inclusion at the very end.”
Under Tweed’s leadership, the team went from 0.82 points per game to 2.0 while cutting goals against from 1.91 to 0.82. Angel City also had more success on tackles, goals scored and direct attacks.
Aside from that, Tweed also helped the club find its identity – something that players have been vocal about.
“She knows how we work,” M.A. Vignola said after Angel City beat Portland Thorns 5-1 on the final day of the NWSL regular season. “She knows how to say things to us and how each different player works. You can even just tell in training that she’s very in tune with everyone individually. That helps us as a collective because it helps talk to each other in certain ways or push each other.”
Even still, Angel City leaders had a timeline they wanted to follow. While they missed their initial Oct. 15 deadline by about a week, it was worth it to ensure that they hired the best possible person.
“It was also about having conversations internally to our staff just so that if there were questions that the expectation was known about what the timing did look like,” Mangano said. “I don’t think it was comfortable for anybody to be in that situation. But ultimately being able to get through the entire process being the goal and I think a very important one.”
With the interim tag officially dropped from her title, Tweed is excited to continue to build with Angel City into the 2024 NWSL season.
“It’s been an incredible journey and something that’s just started,” Tweed said Thursday. “I think we all look at: This is just a platform for us to grow from and move the needle and get bigger and better from next season.”