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Angel City FC announce Freya Coombe as first head coach

NWSL-experienced manager will make the move westward.

Chicago Red Stars v NJ/NY Gotham FC Photo by Howard Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Angel City FC announced on Monday they have hired Freya Coombe to be their inaugural head coach for the 2022 NWSL regular season.

Coombe will be joining from NJ/NY Gotham FC, where she has been the head coach since the middle of the 2019 season.

“I think everyone has been watching the story of Angel City unfold and I have been very impressed with the direction of the club and the core values upon which it is built,” said Coombe in a statement. “When the opportunity to connect with Eni [Aluko, ACFC sporting director] and the team arose, I knew I had to explore it. Leaving NJ/NY Gotham was not an easy decision, but the chance to join ACFC as the head coach of a new team was something I could not pass up.”

A native of England, Coombe played at Reading before moving into a coaching position at the club. Moving to the United States in 2014 and working in the youth sector, Coombe joined Gotham FC, then called Sky Blue FC, in Sept. 2019, first as an interim coach, before serving as permanent manager for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

With Gotham FC, Coombe has impressed in building a team that had been mired at the bottom of the table for years, blending veterans and young players into one of the most exciting up-and-coming teams in the league the last couple years.

In addition to announcing Coombe’s appointment, Angel City FC announced the hiring of Robert Udberg as assistant head coach and performance director. Udberg joins the club after working at Chelsea FC and at England’s FA.

“I am delighted to welcome Freya and Rob to the team. Freya’s experience as a player, coupled with her deep tactical knowledge, commitment to culture, and her most recent experience as a head coach in the fiercely competitive NSWL, make her the great fit for the team we are building from scratch,” said Aluko. “I’m also thrilled to welcome Rob to the team. He is an incredible leader with a brilliant soccer and sports science mind. As Assistant Head Coach and Performance Director at Chelsea Women, Rob was part of a trailblazing team that won multiple titles over his six-year period with the club, and I know he’ll bring that winning experience to Angel City from day one.”

Aluko continues: “As we continue to build out our team, you will see my commitment to creating a truly inclusive, diverse, people-focused football club of staff and players that can be successful on and off the pitch come to life. I believe the balance of our differences and competencies, whoever we are, is what makes incredible teams and organizations. I look forward to continuing to build this team with this important goal in mind.”

With a head coach and the start of a coaching staff now in place for Angel City, attention will turn to player acquisitions, and there’s a spicy rumor of a big star joining the expansion team. Stay tuned for more!

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