NWSL expansion team Angel City FC has hired Gotham FC’s Freya Coombe as head coach for their inaugural season next year. Coombe has been the head coach of Gotham FC for only two years, and reports indicate that she will stay on for the remainder of the season. The club's interim General Manager Yael Averbuch West will now have to lead the search for a new head coach for the team next year.
Freya Coombe joined Gotham FC, then called Sky Blue FC, in September 2019 as the Interim Head Coach. She came to the team from New York Soccer Club (NYSC) and had previously coached for Reading FC in England. Coombe coached Gotham FC through the last two months of 2019 before becoming the permanent head coach of the club in 2020. She has been lauded by fans around the league for leading Gotham FC to a standout season in 2021. For the first half of this year, she was the only woman coach in the league. She has since been joined by Laura Harvey for OL Reign and Becky Burleigh for the Orlando Pride.
This surprise hire of Coombe comes not long after Angel City FC was in talks to hire Sean Nahas, current assistant coach of the North Carolina Courage. When The Atlantic reported the potential hire earlier this summer, Angel City FC received pushback from fans who preferred the club hire a woman coach which would align with a club that has touted having the majority of its ownership as women. Following the criticism, Angel City FC announced that Nahas was no longer being considered.
Will Freya Coombe Target Gotham Players for New Club?
The NWSL will have two teams joining the league in 2022, both in California. In addition to Angel City FC, the league will also welcome a San Diego based team whose president is former U.S. Women’s National Team coach Jill Ellis. All existing teams will be subjected to an expansion draft of their existing players. Although the official rules of the draft have not been announced, it is likely that new coach Freya Coombe will have her eye on some of her former Gotham FC players.