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Patience in D.C.? Inside the Spirit’s ‘short-term pain for long-term gain.’

Washington starts 2024 awaiting the arrival of a fourth full-time coach in four years, and following trades that shipped away two cornerstones of a former championship team

Washington Spirit players warm up at Audi Field
Geoff Burke | USA TODAY Sports

This time last year, the Washington Spirit was a club starting a new era, one meant to blend the long-term vision of an ambitious owner with the style and guidance of a new coach who has a proven history of success.

The same description holds entering the 2024 National Women’s Soccer League season. There is some déjà vu in D.C., where the long-term project took a sharp detour after less than a year. In steps arguably the splashiest coaching hire in league history, Jonatan Giraldez, who won’t join the team until at least June, after he finishes the season with FC Barcelona.

Ambition is undeniable within the Spirit organization, but the abrupt dismissal of former head coach Mark Parsons and the delayed arrival of Giraldez raise questions about how much patience will exist from management, and how long will be needed to reach their goals.

“We’ll certainly be willing and able to exhibit great patience, understanding that we’re not going to see the best version of ourselves until we can get everybody here all the time,” said Mark Krikorian, the Spirit’s president of soccer operations and general manager. “But that certainly doesn’t discount the fact that we think we’re going to be pretty good. We have a talented roster, we have a talented staff, and we’ll put them all together and we’ll go and compete and hopefully get better day to day.”

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