Lesle Gallimore, who coached the University of Washington's women's team in 1994-2019 and served as commissioner of the Girls Academy (GA) since its 2020 inception, is the new general manager of the NWSL's Seattle-based OL Reign. She succeeds Nick Perera, the club's GM from February 2022 until resignation last March.
“Lesle has dedicated her life to this sport and helped pave the way for so many young athletes throughout the United States, especially within our local soccer community,” said OL Reign CEO Vincent Berthillot in the team's press release.
During her 26 seasons at the helm of Washington, where she coached Hope Solo, Gallimore won 270 games and led the Huskies to 15 NCAA Tournament appearances, including two trips to the Elite Eight. She earned Pac-12 Coach of the Year awards in 2000 and 2019.
Gallimore graduated from Cal, where she was a four-time All-American. She served as 2018 President of United Soccer Coaches and has also been a U.S. Soccer national staff coaching instructor. Last March, she was named the first recipient of the Carla Overbeck Leadership Award by U.S. Soccer.
Launched as the Seattle Reign by Bill and Teresa Predmore as one of the NWSL's eight founding members for the 2013 season, the club was renamed OL Reign after its purchase at the end of 2019 by the OL Groupe, whose president Jean-Michel Aulas presided over French club Olympique Lyonnais for three decades and built Lyon's women's team into an international powerhouse.
In May, Lyon sold controlling interest of its women's team to U.S. entrepreneur Michele Kang, also owner of the NWSL's Washington Spirit. In April, OL Groupe had announced its plans to sell OL Reign.
OL Reign has won the NWSL Shield (top regular-season finisher) three times and finished NWSL runner-up twice, but has yet to lift the league crown.
Gallimore became commissioner of the Girls Academy when it emerged to fill the gap left by U.S. Soccer's Girls Development Academy, which folded in April 2020 after launching in 2017.
“The past three years have been a critical period of personal growth for me, and I’m so proud for having served as the first Commissioner of the GA,” Gallimore said. “It is a privilege to be chosen and trusted to be a part of what to me has been an elite professional club from the beginning of the NWSL.”
Photo: OL Reign/Jane Gershovich