If any question remained about whether Becki Tweed deserves to have the interim tag removed from her head coaching title, it may have been answered Sunday when Angel City FC secured its first-ever playoff appearance.
Angel City FC did so with a resounding 5-1 win over the Portland Thorns, who have been one of the league’s best teams all season long. The win put an exclamation point on one of the greatest turnarounds in the NWSL.
After starting the season with a 2-3-6 record (W-D-L), the team fired head coach Freya Coombe and elevated assistant coach Tweed to interim head coach in her place. Since then, Tweed has proven she deserves a shot at a more permanent role, leading the team to the No. 5 seed in the NWSL playoffs.
Tweed started her tenure with an 11-match unbeaten streak across all competitions, and she finished with a 6-4-1 record in the regular season. Tweed spoke after Sunday’s win about the buy-in from players, and she shouted out her assistant coaches and her “incredible group of staff.”
“We’ve won games in these moments that haven’t just come down to the head coach or the player,” she said. “It’s a bigger squad than that. We say every day in the film room and at training, it’s not about 11 players, it’s about 26 people. We have players that graft and grind every day and don’t make a squad, but they keep going and they believe in the team.
“I can’t speak highly enough of how the group has come together. … I think the buy-in comes down to everybody being on the same page and having the same goal. I can’t speak highly enough about the team, the players and the staff that we have in and around every day that continue to push all the standards and the boundaries.”
For Angel City players, though, much of the success leads back to their head coach.
“I mean, Becki has done, can I say the eff word? Becki has done f—ing fantastic,” defender Sarah Gorden said. “She’s done a great job at holding us accountable, pushing us, knowing when to just manage players.
“She’s done great. I mean, you’ve seen the difference.”
In recent weeks, players have spoken about wanting to see Tweed take over the head coaching job on a permanent basis, noting that she has established a winning mentality and has given Angel City an edge they didn’t have before.
On Sunday, defender M.A. Vignola echoed that sentiment.
“She knows how we work. She knows the things [like], how she can say things to us and how each different player works,” she said. “You can even just tell at training that she’s very in tune with everyone individually and that kind of helps as a collective. Because it helps us be able to talk to each other in certain ways or push each other, get through s–t – the nitty and gritty – and that’s what she does best.”