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NWSL expansion club Bay FC hires Albertin Montoya as head coach

(USSF/Washington Spirit)

NWSL expansion club Bay FC has hired Albertin Montoya as its inaugural head coach, the club announced Wednesday.

The league officially announced the franchise in April. Bay FC will begin play in 2024, joining the returning Utah Royals.

A longtime resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, Montoya, 48, served as interim head coach of the Washington Spirit in 2022. On Monday, he told The Athletic that his stint in 2022 gave him “the bug for the professional game again.”

“The Bay Area has been such a great area with professional sports, and how can we not have a women’s team here in Northern California?” Montoya said. “And now that the opportunity is there, I’m just honored, and it’s just a privilege, that the organization is trusting me (with this role).”

In a team statement, Montoya added that he is “honored to be a part of the foundation upon which our team’s history will be built.”

Bay FC general manager Lucy Rushton told ESPN that she had narrowed down to a list of about 40 candidates. But when traveling around the league to research best practices, Montoya’s name kept coming up in conversation.

“Every time I say I’d go to Kansas City or I’d go to Washington Spirit or wherever it was, I’d go and people would ask me about Albertin,” Rushton said. “‘Are you looking for a head coach? I mean, haven’t you got Albertin Montoya there?’ I swear everybody knows Albertin, and so it was ironic to continually find myself in these places where people were telling me to make this guy the head coach.”

Rushton added that playing style and identity will be key as the team moves into its first season, so she saw Montoya’s history of developing players as a definite plus. In addition to his time with the Spirit, Montoya coached the U.S. U-17 women’s national team from 2011-12. He also founded the Montoya Soccer Academy and Mountain View Los Altos Soccer Club.

He has lived in Northern California nearly his entire life, growing up in Mountain View and playing professionally in the area in the 1990s. He also served as co-head coach of the California Storm of the Women’s Premier Soccer League.

“I’ve been around for quite some time, so I know the players that are around the league that have the Bay Area ties,” Montoya said. “And if things come together the way we see it, we’d like to bring in some of the local talent that’s playing in other places around the league, and maybe do more of a Bay Area team. But we’ll see.”