After it seemed like the Chicago Red Stars’ season was already over, a late-night bombshell provided one last unexpected twist. Head coach Rory Dames, who has led the team since before the team even entered the NWSL, suddenly stepped down, with the front office releasing a statement just before midnight on Sunday. The Red Stars will begin their search for a new head coach.
The resignation will come as a surprise to fans, as Dames has been almost synonymous with the Chicago Red Stars for the last decade. He took over the team ahead of the 2011 season in the WPSL, where the Red Stars spent two seasons ahead of the creation of the NWSL. He has coached the Red Stars in all nine seasons of the NWSL, reaching the playoffs six times (every season from 2015 onwards) which included two championship appearances (2019 and 2021) as well as finishing runners-up in the NWSL Challenge Cup in 2020. The Red Stars came up just short in the NWSL Championship game against the Washington Spirit just one day prior to the resignation.
“For 11 years, I have dedicated myself to help build the Chicago Red Stars into one of the top international clubs. Effective today, I’m refocusing my attention to my family and future endeavors, and I am resigning as coach of the Chicago Red Stars,” read Dames’ statement. “I’d like to thank the Chicago Red Stars organization, the fans, and the players who I have had the opportunity to work with in their professional soccer careers. I look forward to watching the Chicago Red Stars and the NWSL continue to grow and evolve while supporting their players.”
Big changes will be coming to the Red Stars soon, with the possibility that some structural changes could occur within the organization following Dames’ departure. The Red Stars job will now be one of the most appealing in women’s soccer, with a strong roster, rich history, and vibrant fanbase, and the front office has a few months to complete its search process.