It’s never a dull day in the NWSL and despite it being a Sunday evening, that didn’t stop the news from coming. Jeff Kassouf of The Equalizer was first to drop the news that Freya Coombe would be taking over as the head coach of Angel City FC, leaving her curring post as the woman in charge of NJ/NY Gotham FC.
Angel City FC has hired Freya Coombe as the team's first head coach, multiple sources tell @EqualizerSoccer. Coombe is currently head coach of NJ/NY Gotham FC. Los Angeles-based Angel City begins play in the #NWSL in 2022.— Jeff Kassouf (@JeffKassouf) August 22, 2021
➡️ https://t.co/01FjL45SfS pic.twitter.com/T75nY8vFQz
Thank you Freya— NJ/NY Gotham FC (@GothamFC) August 23, 2021
Ownership thanks Coach Coombe for her outstanding two-and-a-half years of service with Gotham FC. She has led us to increased success on the field and helped us develop a strong, gritty culture representative of our communities. pic.twitter.com/cKvuN5BT4p
The news comes as a shock for Gotham fans and those around the NWSL as Coombe had led her team to be in contention for a playoff berth and with games in hand over those around them. The amount of work that she had put in, along with others at Gotham FC, to take the team from where it was two years ago to where it is now has been tremendous, and many expected her to continue on with developing this team into a force in the NWSL.
Instead, that hard work impressed Angel City FC enough for them to hire Coombe for themselves and have her at the helm when the team debuts in the NWSL next year.
It’s not the first time in football that a managerial change has been announced mid season, it’s not even rare to see that managerial chance happen within the same league. However, Gotham FC felt that with everything now in place officially, they would look to immediately find a replacement for Coombe and possible have her leave the team in different hands before the season is over.
It’s a risk that Gotham FC are taking by doing this but the organisation and newly appointed GM, Yael Averbuch West, must feel that this is the rigth course of action for the team, players and organisation as a whole. With further details sure to be announced later on, we will now look to see how Gotham FC see out the next match (against Portland Thorns FC on Wednesday night) with this news hanging over their heads. The team has the chance to cut down the lead that Portland has to five points from the eight they have right now over Gotham. There’s also the opportunity to take advantage of the games in hand Gotham FC have over other playoff contention teams in the NWSL. With Carli Lloyd retiring at the end of the season and former GM Alyse LaHue moving on from the organisation, Gotham has had a lot of shifts within the last few weeks to contend with. We will see how they cope with it all over the coming weeks.