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Portland Thorns coach to leave at end of season

Mark Parsons will leave the Thorns to be the head coach of the Netherlands Women's National Team.
Credit: KGW
Mark Parsons in 2015.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Thorns head coach Mark Parsons will leave the team at the end of the 2021 National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) season to take a job as head coach of the Netherlands Women's National Team, the team reported Thursday morning.

"This is not what we were expecting to be managing at this stage of the season, however collectively we are in agreement with Mark’s decision as it is best for him and his family," said Thorns FC general manager and president of soccer Gavin Wilkinson. "We remain 100% committed to the 2021 season with Mark at the helm and appreciate the way in which this has been managed from the KNVB and Mark."

Wilkinson said the process for hiring a new head coach will begin in the coming months and the Thorns plan to name a new head coach at the end of the season.

Parsons has been head coach of the Thorns since 2015. In 2016, the Thorns won the NWSL Shield and followed that up with a NWSL championship in 2017. Earlier this month, the club won the NWSL Challenge Cup. Parsons has a 27-10-9 record with the Thorns. He was named NWSL Coach of the Year in 2016.

"The Thorns are the pinnacle of club football and over the last six years I have had the distinct privilege of calling Portland my home," Parsons said. "I am incredibly thankful for the support and understanding of Merritt and Gavin throughout this process. They truly treat this team as family and their leadership continues to set the standard. I am more focused and committed than ever to helping our players and staff reach our goals and bring joy to our fans this season."

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