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Washington Spirit hire Mark Krikorian as GM, president of operations

(Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

The Washington Spirit are bringing on Mark Krikorian as the team’s next general manager and president of soccer operations, with the team announcing the news on Thursday. The Washington Post first reported the news last Tuesday.

“I am committed to invest in the club to drive the Spirit forward to be the best women’s soccer team in the world. Achieving this goal requires a highly experienced, transformative, and strategic leader,” Washington Spirit owner Michele Kang said. “Mark’s track record of developing players and building winning teams is without equal. I am thoroughly impressed and energized by Mark’s soccer philosophy, his core values, and the professional standards he demands in creating and maintaining a high-performance environment.”

Krikorian served as the Florida State women’s soccer coach for 17 seasons, winning three national titles and making 11 Final Four appearances. He resigned in April over reported conflicts with the athletic administration. Before he left, he was the highest-paid coach in women’s college soccer at FSU with an annual salary of $450,000.

The 62-year-old has reportedly signed a multiyear contract with Washington and will begin his job immediately, the Washington Post reported. He will report directly to Kang and oversee all soccer operations for the Spirit.

“It’s not often in life when you are presented with an opportunity to work for someone whose commitment aligns or even surpasses your own. I have high standards and the commitment to excellence that Michele has shown to the Washington Spirit and women’s soccer in general is more than I have ever experienced or could have hoped for,” Krikorian said. “I am excited for this opportunity and look forward to growing the game and helping the Spirit grow into one of the best clubs in the world.”

Krikorian takes over the role from Ben Olsen, who resigned from his position as the club’s president in early May. Olsen had been hired by previous team owner Steve Baldwin before Baldwin sold the controlling stake in the team to Kang.

According to the Washington Post, coach Kris Ward, multiple Spirit players and NWSL Players Association president Tori Huster were all involved in the hiring process for Krikorian.

The Spirit are in the midst of a skid, having started the season with a 1-3-6 record. They sit in seventh place in the NWSL.