Seattle Women's Soccer Round-up

From Rave and Shale to Red, White & Blue - Jane G Photography

It was a busy week in the world of Seattle's women's soccer programs as Michelle French is moving on, coaches were hired and Hope Solo found out she needs surgery.

We now know where Michelle French will be coaching this season, and it isn't for the Seattle Sounders Women. She has been tapped to become the first full-time US U-20 WNT coach. It will be her job to mold the future full team members, while also working with the U-17 and U-18 teams to recognize and develop the next Alex Morgan's and Sydney Leroux's.

Her first major challenge will be qualifying for the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. That event will be held in Canada as a precursor to the next FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada in 2015. Her first qualifying competition will be in early March in La Manga, Spain, where the USA will face Norway, Germany and Sweden. I think that the future looks bright indeed with Frenchie at the helm. She has a knack of developing a player's strengths and understands what young players will need in order to succeed on the senior USWNT.

Coach French wrote an open letter to the city:

To Sounders Women Fans,

To be a part of the Seattle Sounders Women’s Organization this past summer was an experience that I am extremely grateful for and will always cherish. From the first day that I signed on as head coach last season, it was clear that through the dedication of ownership, staff, and players, something big was about to happen. Not only did the team become comprised of notable USWNT players like Hope Solo and Alex Morgan, we also had many local and national collegiate stars that created the most memorable women’s soccer season in Seattle. The intimate game day experience at Starfire Stadium was unlike any other environment we saw during the season. As a result of the commitment of our owners Cliff McElroy and Lane Smith, coupled with the outstanding Sounders Women’s staff, the product presented on and off the field was top notch. From live webcasts and broadcasts on the road by Jon Billings, to excellent USL coverage, the season proved to be professional in every sense of the word. Lastly, the remarkable record-setting Northwest fans made the season one that I know many players, as well as myself, will never forget.

At this point in my coaching career, I’ve decided not to return as the Seattle Sounders Women’s head coach, in order to remain committed and dedicated to the development of youth soccer through my other coaching commitments. I will continue to follow the development of the team and am extremely excited to watch and support them this upcoming season. I sincerely appreciate all of the support from ownership and look forward to continuing to be a fan of the organization. The Seattle Sounders Women’s past season proved what an incredibly electric and exciting atmosphere can be created in Seattle, and I have no doubt the Sounders Women will continue to be at the forefront of the development of women’s soccer in the Northwest.

Thank you,

Michelle French

Sounders Women Head Coach - 2012

With that announcement came the obvious vacancy at the Seattle Sounders Women for a head coach. Which has now been filled. SSW announced the hiring of Hubert Busby Jr. as the club’s new Head Coach and General Manager.

Per the teams statement, "Busby brings over 13 years of coaching some of the highest levels of women’s soccer in North America. His resume features contributions to every woman’s professional league in the United States (WPS, W-League and WPSL Elite) over the last decade. Most recently he has been involved with the Western New York Flash (NWSL), and the Vancouver Whitecaps Women. He has also served as a National Training Center coach in Canada."

He will be working closely with Technical Director, Lesle Gallimore to recruit players and grow the Sounders Women brand in the community. With Gallimore's contacts through her long, continuing career as the Head Coach for the UW Women's team, and his experience as both player and coach at all level's, the SSW should be able to field another outstanding team.

"We’re thrilled to add Hubert to our staff. His professionalism and enthusiasm for the job has bread success everywhere he’s been," said Executive Director, Jon Billings. "Between Hubert and Lesle Gallimore, we have an incredible amount of coaching acumen, management experience, and player recruiting networks to lead our team."

For ticket information please visit SoundersWomen.com.

The Seattle Reign FC were also busy behind the scenes filling out their staff. The Reign have named Sam Laity as the top assistant coach. Coach Laity is a native of Plymouth, England, but has called the Seattle area home since 2001. Per the Reign's press release, he has been "coaching and serving as director of the junior academy for Pacific Northwest Soccer Club in Tukwila, Wash. He previously coached locally with Dos FC, Westsound FC and Pacific Premier while also serving as regional staff instructor for the NSCAA."

"I’m thrilled and excited to be working with Laura Harvey and Seattle Reign FC," said Laity. "Seattle fans deserve the very best, and I’m looking forward to being part of a club that sets the standard on and off the field, in the NWSL and beyond."

The Reign have been dealt another potential roster blow with the announced injury to keeper Hope Solo. She has been playing with a ligament injury in her left wrist. With the Algarve Cup being the only major competition for the USWNT this summer, the training staff has suggested that now is the time to have the injury addressed. According to the Reign's Facebook page, "surgery on her wrist is being planned for next week. Recovery time has been initially estimated at 6-8 weeks, so with a bit of luck we'll have Hope back near the start of the season." Solo has proven that she can come back from injuries, and I'm sure she'll be back quickly.

Roughneck Scarves has announced that they will be providing the scarves for the Reign this season. This ought to get you a little more excited. They, and T-shirts, should be available in mid-March. For ticket information please visit SeattleReinFC.com.

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