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Houston Dash expected to appoint new head coach imminently

© Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Equalizer understands that the Houston Dash are in the final stages of appointing a new head coach. Pending league process and approval, an announcement will come before the upcoming National Women’s Soccer League Expansion Draft on December 15. They will become the fifth permanent head coach in the club’s nine-year history.

After a lengthy interview process, searching within the United States and in top foreign leagues, the Texas club has zeroed in on a candidate and the new coaching hire could take place this week. The Dash have been without a head coach since September, when it sacked Sam Laity after just 18 league matches in charge. Winless in eight games at the time of his dismissal, the Englishman had a record of 4-6-8 in the 2023 season. Under Laity, Houston boasted the best defensive record (conceded 15) but also the worst scoring record (scored 12) in the NWSL.

On Monday, first assistant Sarah Lowdon departed the Dash after two seasons. In both 2022 and 2023, the Englishwoman was thrust into the position of interim head coach. Houston went 6-6-3 over the two seasons under her leadership. Lowdon was a popular figure with the fanbase and delivered a heartfelt message upon announcing her pursuit of “new opportunities.”

“After my family, this club has been the most important part of my life for the past two years. I leave with incredible memories, including securing playoffs for the first time in club history. While every environment has challenges, it has been an honor to serve and lead when called upon,” Lowdon said, via a statement.

The Equalizer understands that Lowdon was considered for the position of the new head coach. But the Dash front office ultimately went in a different direction. Rather than remain at the club in an assistant role, it became best for both parties to have a fresh start to develop.

The Dash’s extensive search for a new head coach has been heavily driven by data, and was led by general manager Alex Singer, club staff as well as input from the player’s leadership core. There is set to be a heavy emphasis on the style of play in Houston, with the new head coach’s top priorities said to be establishing an attacking possession-based game. In addition, individual player development is also said to be one of the new head coach’s top responsibilities.

Considering Houston scored the fewest goals (0.72 p90) in the NWSL in 2023, and finished 10th for average possession (47.3%), the desire to be a more attacking outfit does not come as a surprise.

But the club’s offseason changes will go beyond just bringing in a person to improve the team going forward. The new head coaching appointment is expected to be one key piece in a total overhaul of the Dash’s team identity. With many behind-the-scenes upgrades to staff and facilities being led by Singer this offseason.

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