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Washington Spirit part ways with coach Mark Parsons after playoff miss

Mark Parsons is out as head coach of the Washington Spirit. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

Mark Parsons will not return as head coach of the Washington Spirit for the 2024 NWSL season, the club announced Tuesday.

After leading the Spirit from 2013 until 2015, Parsons rejoined them for the 2023 season, leading them to a 7-9-6 record (W-D-L). He returned to the NWSL after a short-lived stint with the Netherlands women’s national team, which ended after a disappointing 2022 Euros campaign.

“We are grateful for Mark’s contributions in the 2023 season,” Spirit president of soccer operations Mark Krikorian said in a news release. “He helped lay a strong foundation and set us on a path to excellence. We wish him all the best in the future.”

After his first stint in Washington, Parsons left to be head coach of the Portland Thorns. He spent six seasons in Portland, winning the NWSL Shield in 2016 and the NWSL Championship in 2017.

There had been hope that he would bring those winning ways back to Washington, but instead the Spirit missed the playoffs for the second straight season.

“It has been a privilege to be back in Washington DC and the NWSL this past year. I am proud of the work the players and the staff have put in this season, and I know the Spirit is well-positioned for success moving forward given the foundation has been built,” Parsons said in a news release. “While I am disappointed to not be returning to the Spirit in 2024, I wish Michele and everyone at the club my gratitude and best wishes.”