Long-serving women's pro league coach Jim Gabarra is fired

Jim Gabarra's continuous run as a head coach in the three U.S. women's pro leagues -- from WUSA in 2001 to the NWSL in 2018 -- is over.

The former U.S. international and indoor star was fired as the Washington Spirit's head coach and general manager on Tuesday.

Jim Gabarra (WUSA/WPS/NWSL):
Washington Freedom (WUSA, 2001-03)
Washington Freedom (WPS, 2009-10)
Sky Blue FC (WPS, 2011)
Sky Blue FC (NWSL, 2013-15)
Washington Spirit (NWSL, 2016-18)

Washington is in the midst of a 12-game winless streak with just one goal scored in its last 11 games. Amazingly, the Spirit (2-15-4) is not the worst team in the NWSL. Sky Blue FC is 0-14-5.

Assistant coach Tom Torres will coach the Spirit for the final three games of the season, including Saturday's game against Portland at D.C. United's new Audi Field. Spirit president Chris Hummer will assume Gabarra’s GM duties.

After his playing career ended, Gabarra moved into coaching, working indoors until 1997 when he joined his wife, Carin Gabarra, at the Naval Academy, where she is the women's head coach.

He became the head coach of WUSA's Washington Freedom when it launched in 2001 and led it to the league title in 2003, its third and final season.

Two other Gabarra teams reached league finals -- the WUSA Freedom in 2002 and NWSL Spirit in 2016.

But the Spirit followed up on its run to the 2016 championship game, where it lost on penalty kicks to the Western New York Flash, with a last-place finish in 2017.

U.S. international Ali Krieger and Crystal Dunn left Washington after the 2016 season amid reports of unhappiness within the player ranks, and the Spirit never recovered even though it orchestrated a series of moves to land young star Mallory Pugh. It is 7-30-8 over the last two seasons.

“Jim has put as much of his heart and soul into women’s soccer, this league and this team as anyone,” Spirit owner Bill Lynch said in a statement. “He is a great professional with exceptional character and we can’t thank him enough for his efforts and wish him the best of the luck.
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