Former Sounders Women’s coach and Kent native Michelle French has been hired as the first full-time head coach of the U.S. under-20 women’s national team, the federation announced Wednesday.
Minutes later, Seattle Reign FC announced the hire Sam Laity as the team’s top assistant coach to Laura Harvey for the upcoming NWSL season.
Big day on the local women’s soccer scene.
French, 36, earned 14 caps for the USWNT and was a volunteer assistant for the University of Washington in 2005 among tons of coaching history. Be sure to check out this Q&A and bio online for more information.
Regarding the other hire, Laity is a native of Plymouth, England, who has lived in the Seattle area since 2001. He has worked with the Pacific Northwest Soccer Club, Dos FC, Westsound FC and Pacific Premier, along with serving as regional NSCAA staff instructor.
More reaction from news releases after the jump.
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“The opportunity to lead the best young players in the country as they continue their journey to compete at the highest level with the full National Team is an honor and something I’ve been aspiring towards for several years. There is a passion, responsibility and honor that comes with working for U.S. Soccer, and I truly couldn’t be more thrilled to have this opportunity.” — Michelle French, U.S. U-20 women’s national team coach
“Over the last 10 years Michelle has coached at the club level as well as every level of our youth national team programs. While serving as the assistant coach to our U-18 youth National Team these last two years, she has demonstrated that she’s one of the brightest coaches in America. She understands the international game, values the technical level of today’s game, is tactically nuanced, knows the physical demands, and as a former Women’s National Team player, she is capable of assisting youth players in fine tuning their strengths, while improving their weaknesses.” — April Heinrichs, USSF Technical Director
“I’m thrilled and excited to be working with Laura Harvey and Seattle Reign FC. Seattle fans deserve the very best, and I’m looking forward to being part of a club that sets the standard on and off the field, in the NWSL and beyond.” — Sam Laity, Reign FC assistant coach
“Sam has great experience working in all aspects of the game. He is a local coach who understands the expectations of the fans. His knowledge and enthusiasm will be a major asset to our team.” — Laura Harvey, Reign FC head coach