Cookie Consent by Free Privacy Policy Generator Skip to content

Seattle Reign unveils coaching, medical, and technical staff

The Reign welcomes veterans with NWSL experience while keeping its coaching core from the 2023 season.

Last Updated
4 min read
Seattle Reign assistant coach Kate Norton. Credit: Mike Russell / Sounder at Heart

Seattle Reign FC announced the expansion of its technical staff on Friday. The club is welcoming back several returning staff members, along with three new hires for the 2024 NWSL season.

“Since I first joined the club in the middle of last season, it has been a priority to expand our technical team,” said Reign FC General Manager Lesle Gallimore. “These new additions are bringing in decades of knowledge and experience to our club that will positively enhance the development of our players and lead to overall team success. We have more to do to enhance the staff and progress as a club, but the addition of these three proven leaders is a great start."

Coaching Staff

Head Assistant Coach Scott Parkinson and Assistant Coach Kate Norton return to Laura Harvey’s coaching staff after helping lead the club to its third appearance in the NWSL Championship.

In a recent conversation with Ride of the Valkyries about her new contract, forward Bethany Balcer was full of praise for these two assistant coaches.

"They were absolutely great last year. Really great fresh faces, and awesome additions to the club. I personally loved working with Scott. I spent more time with him just going over film and working on drills, and he's just such a good person to just speak life into players and encourage – but in a way that's like, 'You have so much you're capable of.' And I love Kate, she's a ray of light as well. She's been fun to work with. Throughout the year, we saw more of her personality, which was really cool and exciting."

Mike Russell / Sounder at Heart

Balcer, who had a few custom celebrations last season with Parkinson, noted his instant connection with the Reign and the city of Seattle.

"I've just appreciated his dedication to this club. He gives all of our little pregame hype-ups before we go out, and you can just tell that he loves this club and he loves this team so much. We as players feel that and that's something you want to rally behind."

Before coming to the Reign in 2023, Parkinson held assistant coaching roles with the Chicago Red Stars and Utah Royals – in addition to taking over as Gotham's head coach in 2021. Norton was previously the director of coaching for the U13-U19 Girls’ program at PacNW, as well as the director of the Surf Development Academy in San Diego.

The Reign brought on veteran coach Lloyd Yaxley as Assistant Coach and Head of Goalkeeping. Yaxley most recently spent two seasons as the goalkeeper coach for the Kansas City Current. He brings over a decade of experience developing goalkeepers across the league. Prior to his time in KC, Yaxley spent five years with the Orlando Pride (2017-21) and four seasons with the Washington Spirit (2013-16).

Goalkeeper coach Lloyd Yaxley © Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Reign's long-time goalkeeper coach Ljupco “Raki” Kmetovski recently departed the club to join Vlatko Andonovski's staff in Kansas City. Kmetovski initially joined the Reign in 2018, when Andonovski brought him to the U.S. from their native country of North Macedonia.

Medical and High Performance team

After seeing a couple of high performance and medical staff leave toward the end of 2023, the Reign hired Medical Director Emily Fortunato and High Performance Director Michael Minthorne. The club also recently told The Athletic that they "anticipated having at least 7 [performance] staff total in 2024 after hiring," plus additional contractors.

Fortunato has worked in women's professional sports for 11 years between the NWSL and WNBA. Most recently, she spent three seasons as head athletic trainer for the Chicago Red Stars (2021-23). Fortunato also worked for three seasons with Harvey at the Utah Royals. Under Harvey, Fortunato oversaw the day-to-day operations of the medical department and developed the club’s concussion management protocol.

Emily Fortunato © Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Fortunato worked for three years with the WNBA's Washington Mystics and three years with the Washington Spirit. She has also been a network provider for U.S. Soccer since 2013, serving on staff during the team’s 2019 World Cup run and 2021 Olympic Games. In this role, Fortunato assisted the full-time medical staff at US Soccer, providing support during camps, friendlies, and tournaments.

High Performance Director Minthorne joins the Reign after serving as the high performance coach for the Washington Spirit for more than three years. He has 16 years of experience in improving human performance – with a particular focus on movement, nutrition, recovery, and mindset for the demands of high-level competition.

Michael Minthorne © Lewis Gettier-USA TODAY Sports

In addition to his NWSL experience, Minthorne served as the scientific coordinator for Clube de Regatas do Flamengo in Brazil, was the lead fitness coach at Aston Villa, and spent two years as a performance coach for the Chinese Olympic Committee.

Additional returning technical staff

The Reign also has a significant number of returning technical staff, including GM Lesle Gallimore, Associate General Manager Santiago Gallo, Video Analyst Kevin Pineda, Sports Dietitian Bethany Chapman, Physical Therapist Dr. Bethany Diamond, Head Athletic Trainer Jordan Carmosino, Assistant Athletic Trainer Kevin Orozco, Clinical and Sports Psychologist Dr. Mariah Bullock, Massage Therapist Heidi Henderson, Chiropractor Endeah Hardesty, Equipment Manager Sara Salefske, Equipment Coordinator Jessica Gottlieb, Operations Manager Kyllian Perrin, Player Care Manager Manuel Torres, and Chaplain Amy Benthin.