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Gabarra stays, but Freedom makes changes

Jim Gabarra will remain as the Washington Freedom's head coach, but top assistant Clyde Watson has resigned and England's Emma Hayes, who guided the Chicago Red Stars for one-plus seasons, has been hired as a consultant to help evaluate training and tactics.

With a 5-8-5 record in Women's Professional Soccer, Gabarra's job was in jeopardy heading into meetings with Freedom executives Monday, a story reported exclusively on the Insider last week. Through nine years and various leagues, he has been the club's only head coach. His status beyond this season, however, remains in doubt.

"We have gone through a lengthy and thorough evaluation process, which involved discussions with players, coaches, sports psychologists and other soccer experts close to the team, to determine the best course of direction for the remainder of the season," Freedom President Mark Washo said.

The Freedom, which ended a 10-game winless streak last week, has conceded the most goals in each of WPS's two seasons. In sixth place in the seven-team league with six matches remaining, Washington will play at Sky Blue (6-8-3) in New Jersey on Wednesday.

For full details, click here.

By Steve Goff  |  August 10, 2010; 11:52 AM ET
Categories:  Freedom , Women  | Tags: WPS, Washington Freedom  
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I am no soccer coach, but these changes seem cosmetic. Let's hope they do the trick!

Posted by: Tony-Tony-Tony | August 10, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Priceless. Lose a great coach, and pick up a terrible one. That will definitely turn things around. Maybe Freedom can pick up some of the Sky Blue coaching cast-offs as well.

Well, at least they have a stadium.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 10, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

And somewhere I bet Lori Lindsey is smiling.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 10, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

As much as I love Jim Gabarra and what he's done for the Freedom, maybe it is time to cut the cord and move into a new direction. While there have been numerous season-ending injuries on the team, the Freedom has enough talent to overcome that and they seem to be underachieving. We'll see what happens the rest of the season.

Posted by: stwasm | August 10, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking all through this that at the very least the Freedom need an assistant coach who can help with the defense, since that's never been one of Gabarra's strengths. Let's hope Hayes can help with that.

Posted by: kevinwparker | August 10, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: DCFaninSocal | August 10, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

DCFan, don't be a troll. If you don't care, why even bother reading and commenting on it?

Posted by: stwasm | August 10, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Something mentioning Clyde's good standing with the freedom should have been in this article. Below is a quote from the Freedom's website.

“We have also accepted the resignation of Assistant Coach Clyde Watson, who stepped down yesterday after 10 years with the team. We were very disappointed to accept Clyde ’s resignation as our current struggles on the field had nothing to do with Clyde acting as our assistant coach. Clyde has been an incredible asset to Freedom and has helped us build a strong soccer organization top to bottom. This has led to Freedom having one of the strongest girls’ soccer development programs in the world, which begins with our youth programs and leads all the way up to the professional team. Clyde has been a true professional and he will be greatly missed as a coach for Freedom. Clyde will remain on as a consultant of Freedom’s youth soccer programs.”

Posted by: nperazich | August 10, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

And somewhere I bet Lori Lindsey is smiling.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 10, 2010 12:14 PM

Does anyone know for sure how she felt about being left unprotected in the draft? Maybe she wanted a new situation, for all anyone knows.

If it is any consolation, only a few points separate the fourth through seventh teams, so anything is possible.

Posted by: universityandpark | August 10, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the Freedom should bring in Greg Ryan as well.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 10, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

On a broader topic, I wonder if that WPS can continue aft5er this season as a professional league. People just aren't going to the games. Gold Pride, even with Marta, are struggling to get crowds in the 3000's. Freedom attendance has also declined, even before the long losing streak. Boston and NJ seem to be doing OK, but I wonder if that is good enough. The league might have to go to a semi-pro business model. But then they might lose a lot of the top foreign players.

Posted by: Ron16 | August 10, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Yep, and also they've got the world cup coming up right in the middle of next season. Not sure how they plan to work around that, or how that might affect attendance.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 10, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

If we (USA) do well, WPS attendance should be boosted by the WWC because the players are on WPS teams.

I suspect that, if WPS does not take a break next summer, we;ll get e-mails to watch the doubleheader of Freedom matches and WWC on the big-but-not-jumbo tron at the 'Plex.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 10, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

The league might have to go to a semi-pro business model.

Posted by: Ron16 | August 10, 2010 4:04 PM

Antonucci has already said (although she didn't put it quite this way) that WPS will probably experience what has become the norm for the second and third tiers of men's soccer in this country: one or two franchises dropping out after each season, with new teams in different cities taking their place, so the league has a whole has a permanence that transcends that of any particular team.

Posted by: universityandpark | August 10, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

If we (USA) do well, WPS attendance should be boosted by the WWC because the players are on WPS teams.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 10, 2010 5:12 PM

It is not just the USA players, of course, but the WPS stars who will be surely be representing several other countries in Germany, as well. Also, once the tournament is over, presumably WPS can make a play for a few German stars who will have some name recognition as a result of the tournament.

I hope WPS has the sense to take a WWC break.

Posted by: universityandpark | August 10, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

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