Utah Royals FC has added a new hire to their coaching staff, at least on an interim basis: Nikki Washington, a former NWSL player and a member of U.S. youth national teams.
Washington, 32, retired in 2015. She has been an assistant coach at University of Washington from 2017 to 2019.
The news initially came from Lesle Gallimore, the former head coach at UW, who retired following the 2019 season. It was later confirmed by the Utah Royals communications team.
So proud of @mnwash. First black woman coach in the @NWSL @UtahRoyalsFC #TheFirstNotTheLast #SheCanCoach #OFWMom #blackexcellence see you 10.17.20— Lesle Gallimore (@CoachGallimore) September 30, 2020
Washington’s arrival to the Royals bolsters a coaching staff that has been hit by controversy. Royals head coach Craig Harrington has been accused of sexism and has been placed on a leave of absence. Reports from The Equalizer indicate Harrington is expected to be out at the organization, although Royals PR staff have indicated there is no official decision yet made.
Louis Lancaster, an assistant coach at the club, was also placed on a leave of absence for reasons unrelated to Harrington’s.
We have reached out to Utah Royals communications about the news.