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Gabarra leaving Sky Blue, heading back to Washington

Sources have confirmed to The Equalizer that Jim Gabarra has resigned as head coach and technical director of Sky Blue FC.  He is expected to be named the next head coach and general manager of the Washington Spirit.  Neither club has made any statements regarding Gabarra, but the coach has already informed his Sky Blue players via email.

Gabarra took over at Sky Blue in 2010 and coached them in 2011, the final season of WPS.  He remained with the organization after the league folded and coached the New Jersey Wildcats which served as a bridge team into NWSL.  In three NWSL seasons Gabarra was 24-22-20 during the regular season as Sky Blue’s head coach.  The club qualified for the playoffs in 2013 losing the semifinal 2-0 at Western New York.

The move to Washington will represent a homecoming for the 56-year old Gabarra who coached the Washington Freedom in WUSA and WPS.  He also lives full-time in Annapolis, Maryland where his wife Carin is head coach of Navy’s women’s soccer team.  The former Carin Jennings was also a member of the 1991 World Cup winning United States team.

Gabarra has coached in every season of top-flight women’s soccer in the United Stated.  As the founding coach of the Freedom he inherited Mia Hamm and later drafted Abby Wambach.  After missing the playoffs in 2001 and then drafting Wambach the Freedom reached the final in 2002 and 2003.  In the final WUSA match ever played, Wambach scored a golden goal to win it for the Freedom.

The Freedom remained in business beyond WUSA and Gabarra led the Freedom Soccer Club to the 2007 W-League championship.  He remained in Washington into WPS and led the Freedom to the playoffs in the first two seasons, losing in the first round each time—the first to Sky Blue.  Gabarra resigned from the Freedom after the 2010 season and was quickly hired by Sky Blue where he eventually became technical director.

The Spirit job became open last week when Mark Parsons stepped aside to take the head coaching job with Portland Thorns FC.  Sky Blue is now the lone NWSL coaching vacancy though an expected announcement of a 10th club in Orlando will create another.

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