It appears we may have just heard the first name in the hunt for a head coach of Real Salt Lake’s new NWSL team, which is set to begin play in the 2018 season.
According to a report from FourFourTwo, former Seattle Reign boss Laura Harvey may be the person that Craig Waibel alluded to when he mentioned a “top coaching target” in the NWSL press conference on Thursday.
Harvey just stepped down from her post in Seattle earlier this month, citing a deeper involvement with the US Women’s National Team, which would reportedly eventually put her on track to replace current USWNT coach Jill Ellis when the time comes. However, with nothing set in stone, RSL’s splash into the NWSL landscape could pose an opportunity for the two-time NWSL Coach of the Year winner to jump back into a club head coaching role for next season.
While no rash decisions need to be made, it’s understandable that Waibel wants to lock in the right coach as soon as possible. This wouldn’t be Harvey’s first undertaking of a team in need of roster building, as she took over a second-to-last place Seattle team in 2013 and turned them into the league’s best the very next year, going on to win the NWSL Shield in both 2014 and 2015.
This time, however, Harvey would have the chance to build a brand new team from the ground up.
No stranger to the coaching role — having been in charge of Birmingham City and Arsenal before she landed in Seattle — Harvey would bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to Salt Lake, and it’s hard to see any downside for the brand new NWSL club if this report indeed turns out to be true.