The Chicago Red Stars finally have a coach. A nearly four-month long search for a Rory Dames’ successor finally came to an end with the appointment of experienced college soccer coach Chris Petrucelli. He was most recently the head coach at SMU.
Petrucelli has a strong resume dating all the way back to the 1980s. After winning two Division III national championships as a player at UNC-Greensboro, he started his coaching career as an assistant coach at Old Dominion. Then, from 1990-1998, he was the head coach of the Notre Dame women’s team. At Notre Dame he won a National Championship in 1995. In the 2000s he coached the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team and Texas, before moving to SMU in 2012. By the end of his time at SMU, he was the seventh winningest coach among active women’s soccer coaches in the United States.
“I am thrilled to be appointed the Head Coach of the Chicago Red Stars. I’m so fortunate to be taking over a team that is extremely talented and hungry for a Championship,” Petrucelli said in a news release announcing his hire. The Red Stars gig is Petrucelli’s first in professional soccer.
The Red Stars had initially hoped to announce a new coach by the end of January, but since no coach was announced, they had to start preseason without a permanent coach. The Red Stars search committee included players, assistant coaches, owners, and a sports psychologist to ensure that the club made the right hire. There were about 25 candidates for the job, and the club finally has found its man.
Petrucelli will have about a month to prepare his team for the first competitive games of 2022; the NWSL Challenge Cup, which will precede the new season, kicks off on March 20th with a game against Houston.
Cassie Miller traded to Kansas City
In today’s other Red Stars news, the club announced that backup goalkeeper Cassie Miller has been traded to the Kansas City Current. Miller was Alyssa Naeher’s #2 in Chicago, but stepped in as the #1 for the second half of last season and was a key part of the Red Stars’ run to the championship game. Though the Red Stars will be sad to see her go, Miller has more than earned the opportunity to be the starter somewhere, and she is expected compete with Adrianna Franch for the starting job. The Red Stars received $75,000 in allocation money in exchange for the 26-year-old. Kansas City and Chicago will meet twice in the Challenge Cup, on March 25th and April 24th.