Client: Chicago Red Stars

Source: Chicago Sun-Times

“I’m excited to work with this talented team that includes some of the NWSL’s best players to turn the Chicago Red Stars into a championship club both on and off the pitch,” Donaldson said in the team’s release.

After a last-place finish in 2023, followed by the firing of coach Chris Petrucelli, the Red Stars have a new coach.

Lorne Donaldson, former coach of the Jamaican women’s national team, was announced Wednesday as the club’s new coach.

Donaldson is coming off a historic World Cup run, as Jamaica became the first Caribbean nation to advance to the Round of 16. That accomplishment came despite inadequate support from their federation. The team was forced to hold two fundraisers, which netted $100,000 from fans.

Jamaica lost 1-0 to Colombia in the Round of 16. In September, the federation announced Donaldson would not renew his contract, saying “both parties came to an agreement.”

Donaldson is joining the Red Stars at a critical juncture in the club’s history.

Petrucelli was hired in February 2022 after former coach Rory Dames resigned amid reports of abusive behavior, which were later corroborated in a report from former U.S. Justice Department official Sally Q. Yates. Dames received a lifetime ban from the NWSL in January.

While Petrucelli kept the ship afloat during the sale of the club from ousted former owner Arnim Whisler to Laura Ricketts and a group of high-powered Chicago women, success was elusive. In his two seasons, Petrucelli led the Red Stars to a 16-18-9 record.

The team is in a state of limbo with eight free agents, including Tierna Davidson, whom the team drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in 2019, Mallory Swanson and Casey Krueger. The team re-signed free-agent midfielder Cari Roccaro to a two-year contract on Dec. 8.

Ahead of the USWNT’s friendly against South Africa in September, Davidson said that how the Red Stars handled the hiring of a new coach and other topics that needed addressing, such as facilities, would be considered in her free-agent decision. Since then, Davidson has been in advanced talks to sign with Gotham FC, according to a report from The Equalizer.

According to the Red Stars’ news release, Donaldson will join the club in the coming weeks in preparation for the NWSL Draft on Jan. 12.