Twenty-Four Athletes Participating in 20-Week Program; NWSL Contribution Will Be Named After Mentor and Coach Kim Crabbe
U.S. Soccer Crest
U.S. Soccer Crest

CHICAGO (Aug. 11, 2021) – The National Women’s Soccer League, NWSL Players’ Association and U.S. Soccer will join forces to offer 24 current and former NWSL players a ‘B’ License coaching course free of charge as part of their efforts to increase the number of high-level female coaches in the United States.

The cost of the coaching course will be covered in part by U.S. Soccer’s Jill Ellis Scholarship Fund, an endowment that provides financial support to advance and empower more female coaches, as well as the NWSLPA and the league itself. The NWSL’s sponsorship of the program will be a recurring contribution and will be named the Kim Crabbe Coaching Fund to honor former U.S. Women’s National Team player, trailblazer and mentor Kim Crabbe.

“I am honored and delighted to be included in the naming of this incredible program,” said Crabbe. “Mentoring the next generation of soccer players has been one of the honors of my life, and I’m confident this certification will empower women with that same passion to take their coaching careers to the next level.”

This year marks the third time that U.S. Soccer and the NWSL have partnered to provide cost-free coaching education courses. U.S. Soccer has previously offered two ‘C’ License courses to NWSL players, funded by generous donors.

This will be the U.S. Soccer’s first all-women ‘B’ License course and provides another important educational opportunity for professional female players. Since the NWSL coaching course initiative began in 2018, more than 25 players have received cost-free coaching education.

“The Players Association is committed to increasing professional opportunities for players, and this partnership does that and more by creating a pipeline of 24 women who will be qualified and well prepared to coach in NWSL,” said NWSLPA Executive Director Meghann Burke. “This is an investment in the future of our sport.”

“The NWSL is proud to work alongside the Players’ Association and U.S. Soccer to provide development opportunities to aspiring female coaches,” said NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird. “Our mutual goal is to help the tremendous athletes in our league succeed both on and off the field and subsidizing the cost of this elite coaching education program will help us live up to that mission. We’re excited to see what our players accomplish with this certification in the future.”

Twenty active NWSL players and four former players are embarking on the ‘B’ License course this year. The course lays the groundwork for players to develop the skills and experience necessary to advance in the coaching profession. Tailored to accommodate athletes’ schedules, the 20-week program consists of both virtual educational experiences and in-person meetings, led by U.S. Soccer National Coaching Instructor Heather Dyche and U.S. Soccer Coach Educator Karla Thompson.

“We’re excited to collaborate with the NWSL and the NWSL Players Association for this important initiative to empower women in coaching,” said U.S. Women’s National Team General Manager Kate Markgraf. “This course will take place during the NWSL season and it’s just one of the ways we’re working to get more women involved in high-level coaching. Coupled with the Jill Ellis Scholarship Program, which subsidizes part of the education costs for our top coaching licenses, and our SheChampions Coaching Mentorship Program, which provides experienced mentors for women undertaking their own coaching journeys, this collaboration enhances NWSL players’ coaching competencies and creates opportunities during their careers and after they retire."

The 24 candidates will also be invited to participate in a modified SheChampions Mentorship Program. U.S. Soccer’s SheChampions Coaching Mentorship Program, presented by Volkswagen, provides hands-on mentorship and guidance for women participating in Pro, ‘A’ and ‘B’ License courses. The NWSL players and former players will be organized into mentorship groups to guide them on their coaching journeys.

The Jill Ellis Scholarship Fund was established in 2019 in honor of two-time Women’s World Cup Champion head coach Jill Ellis. The fund has grown with the generosity of donors, including Fund Founding Donors Samir A Ganhdi, Patti Flint MD, the Koons-Perdikis Family, Angie Taube, Nicola Miner & Robert Mailer Anderson and an anonymous donor. To support the Jill Ellis Scholarship Fund and this course, donate at ussoccer.com/jillellisscholarship.

The 20 active NWSL players and four alumni participating in this year’s program are listed below. Players with an asterisk have been capped by the U.S. Women’s National Team and players in italics are retired from NWSL, listed with their last club.

Chinyelu Asher – Washington Spirit

Rylee Baisden – NC Courage

Lauren Barnes – OL Reign

Nicole Barnhart – Unattached*

Celeste Boureille – Portland Thorns FC

Kendall Fletcher – NC Courage*

Darian Jenkins – Kansas City NWSL

Ali Krieger – Orlando Pride*

Gina Lewandowski – NJ/NY Gotham FC*

Becca Moros – Utah Royals FC

Meg Morris – Portland Thorns FC

Christine Nairn – Houston Dash*

Toni Pressley – Orlando Pride

Cambria Privett – Houston Dash

Samantha Prudhomme -  Reign FC

Maegan Rosa – Houston Dash

Angela Salem – Portland Thorns FC

Amy Rodriguez – NC Courage*

Abby Smith – Kansas City NWSL

Crystal Thomas – Orlando Pride

Michele Vasconcelos – Kansas City NWSL

Mallory Weber – Kansas City NWSL

Beverly Yanez – Reign FC

McCall Zerboni – NJ/NY Gotham FC*