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Washington Spirit coach Richie Burke reportedly fired for abusive behavior

Former Washington Spirit coach Richie Burke (Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

After the Washington Spirit announced that head coach Richie Burke was stepping down due to health reasons Tuesday, a new report is saying that he actually was fired.

Multiple sources familiar with the team told The Athletic that they were not aware of health issues with Burke following the Spirit’s press release Tuesday morning. In it, the team said that Burke would assume a front office position when he returned. According to a follow-up report by The Athletic, the Spirit now are expected to announce that Burke has been suspended pending an investigation.

The Spirit have begun the search for their next head coach. Assistant coach Kris Ward will lead the team against the Houston Dash on Friday.

Washington is 5-3-5 this season and seventh in the NWSL standings.

The murky details around Burke’s departure add another layer to what has already been a hectic season for coaching in the NWSL, with four of the league’s ten teams announcing a head coaching change in 2021.