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Mark Parsons to leave Portland Thorns for Netherlands HC position at end of season

Mark Parsons is reportedly exchanging roses for tulips at the end of the NWSL season.

Portland Thorns FC v OL Reign

After a rumor began circulating yesterday reported by Dutch outlet RTV Utrecht that Portland Thorns head coach Mark Parsons would replace Sarina Wiegman as head coach of the Netherlands women’s national team, today The Athletic’s Meg Linehan reported they had sources confirming the move, though nothing is official yet. Parsons is reportedly finishing out the 2021 season with the Thorns.

Wiegman is, of course, slated to take over as England’s head coach after Phil Neville’s departure, beginning in September after she coaches the Netherlands through the Tokyo Olympics.

Parsons has been part of the National Women’s Soccer League since its inception, first as an assistant coach for the Washington Spirit, then promoted to Spirit HC, then taking over as Thorns HC after the 2015 season. The Thorns have been regular playoff contenders under Parsons and they won the NWSL championship in 2017. But regardless of the Thorns’ high profile, the lure of a national team coaching job, particularly in preparation for the 2023 World Cup, is one few would be able to resist. The Netherlands are currently ranked #3 in the world, below the United States and Germany, and were finalists in the 2019 World Cup, when they fell 2-0 to the United States.