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OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey named 2021 NWSL Coach of the Year

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Harvey’s return sparked a triumphant turnaround in team fortunes after a miserable start to the 2021 season.

Portland Thorns FC v OL Reign Photo by Jane Gershovich/ISI Photos/Getty Images

OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey was announced today as the 2021 NWSL Coach of the Year. Harvey re-joined the Reign midway through the season after Farid Benstiti’s dismissal for inappropriate comments to players, and helped the team climb the table and finish the regular season in second place, with a 7-3-2 record and outscoring opponents 25-9 during her time leading the team, including an eight-game unbeaten streak.

“I was just so excited to work with Laura again, truly so excited. I knew she was going to be phenomenal for us and especially for the youngsters in this group. We learned loads from her and that just made us better and better,” said midfielder Jess Fishlock in a team release.

While Harvey gets the honors, she would be first to mention that assistant coach Sam Laity should get just as much credit for righting the ship during a six-match spell after Benstiti’s abrupt departure and before Harvey could properly return after the Olympics.

This is the third time Harvey has been named Coach of the Year while leading the Reign, having previously been honored in 2014 and 2015. Vlatko Andonovski also won the award as Reign FC head coach in 2019.

“We are incredibly happy for Laura, as this honor is well-deserved recognition for all she has achieved since her return to our club,” said OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore in the release. “The results she delivered since taking the helm mid-season exceeded all expectations and serves as a testament to her extraordinary talents. We are proud to have her leading our team again.”

Portland Thorns head coach Mark Parsons finished second in voting, while NJ/NY Gotham FC head coach Scott Parkinson came in third. The finalists were voted on by fans (10% of total vote); owners, general managers and coaches (20% combined); players (50%); and media (20%).