Former Jamaica women’s national team coach Lorne Donaldson is the new head coach of the Chicago Red Stars, the team announced Wednesday. Donaldson joins the team after his historic 2023 World Cup run with Jamaica, helping the team advance to the round of 16 for the first time.
Donaldson is the first major on-field hire of the Laura Ricketts era.
Ricketts, who bought the Red Stars earlier this year, recently hired Karen Leetzow as the club’s new president.
Chicago was last in the standings in 2023, with a 7-12-3 record and the worst goal differential in the league at -22.
While Jamaica proved themselves to be a defensive stalwart under Donaldson, they still struggled offensively. That defensive work could be very attractive for a club that had the worst goal differential in the league by 16 goals. But what does and doesn’t work at the national team level often translates differently at the club level, making the Reggae Girlz only a partial predictor of Donaldson’s ability to impact the Red Stars.
Donaldson also has important links to Colorado, a hotbed of youth soccer development. He once coached Swanson with Real Colorado. Donaldson could be a big lure for free agent Swanson; Chicago needs a star and a goalscorer. Based on their lack of trades ahead of the expansion draft and the fact that the team is still in rebuilding mode, the Red Stars also need as many incentives as they can get to keep and attract big names.