all scores

Washington Spirit name interim coach in wake of Kris Ward firing

Albertin Montoya will join Washington for its next match Sept. 10. (MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images)

The Washington Spirit announced Friday that Albertin Montoya has been named interim head coach. He replaces Kris Ward, who was fired by the team in August.

Montoya will join the team for its next match Sept. 10, when the Spirit will host San Diego Wave FC at Audi Field in Washington. The Spirit have five matches left in the NWSL season and sit in second-to-last place in the league standings.

“It’s an incredible honor to be named interim coach,” Montoya said in a statement. “I want to thank Michele Kang and Mark Krikorian for trusting me with this opportunity. My goal is to provide the best possible experience for these players and do my part to help Michele and Mark build the foundation for the future of the Washington Spirit organization.”

Previously, Montoya served as co-head coach of the California Storm of the Women’s Premier Soccer League in 1999. He later was an assistant coach at Santa Clara University and Stanford University before returning to professional soccer in 2009.

He coached Spirit players Kelley O’Hara and Nicole Barnhart with the FC Gold Pride in the Women’s Professional Soccer league, where he served as head coach from 2009-10.

Additionally, Montoya coached the U.S. Women’s U-17 youth national team from 2011-12. He is currently the technical director at MVLA, a California youth club.

“We are thrilled that Albertin has agreed to join us as interim coach for the remainder of the season,” Spirit general manager Mark Krikorian said. “He is a wonderful teacher of the game and our players will benefit from his development and leadership. We look forward to having Albertin lead this group through the final five regular season matches and are optimistic about what he will be able to add to our club.”

UCLA women’s soccer head coach Margueritte Aozasa praised the move on Twitter, calling Montoya “the reason I am the coach and person I am today.”

Angela Salem, who took the helm for the team’s most recent match against the Houston Dash, will move back to her position as a first-year assistant coach.