OL Reign announced today that head coach Farid Benstiti has resigned effective immediately and will not be on the sideline when they face the Houston Dash at BBVA Stadium later this evening. Assistant coach Sam Laity will take over on an interim basis. No reason was given for Benstiti’s departure, although the team has started the regular season with a disappointing 2-4-1 record.
“We are appreciative of Farid’s many contributions to the club over the past 18 months and wish him the best in all his future endeavors,” said OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore in a team release. “We have great respect for Farid’s talents and all he brought to the organization, but in our recent conversations there was a collective agreement that new leadership was required to achieve the performances and results needed to satisfy our ambitions.”
Benstiti was hired before the start of the 2020 season and led the club through 20 matches in the Challenge Cup, 2020 Fall Series and NWSL regular season, ending his tenure with 6 wins, 9 losses and 5 draws. Despite generally strong accolades from players over the past 18 months when asked about their experience under Benstiti, something clearly turned over the past few weeks.
At the time Benstiti was hired by the Reign, Ride of the Valkyries sat down with Predmore to discuss the vetting process, particularly in light of reports about disparaging comments made to Lindsey Horan while Benstiti was her coach at PSG in the early 2010s. Predmore felt that the issue had been addressed sufficiently, and consulted with senior players before making the final decision to hire him.
“If we were bringing somebody in, the most important thing was that the players are comfortable with him. In all cases, players were supportive of the decision to move forward with Farid,” Predmore stated at the time, while also noting that he made the final decision on the hire. “I am making the decision. I am responsible for the outcome, and if I get it wrong, I deserve to be held accountable.”