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The Girls Academy May 31, 2023

Lesle Gallimore departing Girls Academy to lead NWSL club OL Reign as general manager

OL Reign announced that Lesle Gallimore has been named General Manager of the club. Gallimore now oversees all areas of the club’s first team operations. Gallimore joins the club after serving as commissioner of the Girls Academy (GA) since June 2020, when the development program was first formed.

“Today is truly a special day for our club. Lesle has dedicated her life to this sport and helped pave the way for so many young athletes throughout the United States, especially within our local soccer community,” said CEO Vincent Berthillot. “Her decades of experience, her leadership qualities and her love for our club will be a strong addition to the overall success of OL Reign.”

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to join OL Reign as their new General Manager. I’d like to thank everyone at OL, specifically Vincent Berthillot and Sophie Sauvage, as well as Bloom Sports for leading a comprehensive and thorough search,” said OL Reign general manager Lesle Gallimore. “I’d also like to express my gratitude to the staff, board, and membership of the Girls Academy for their support and belief in my leadership. The past three years have been a critical period of personal growth for me, and I’m so proud for having served as the first Commissioner of the GA. It is a privilege to be chosen and trusted to be a part of what to me has been an elite professional club from the beginning of the NWSL.”

Under Gallimore’s leadership, GA has become the leading youth development platform for female soccer players throughout the United States. In only three years, GA has developed over 13,000 female athletes in 91 clubs, making an immediate impact towards the growth of the sport in the U.S. Additionally, within the first two years of the GA league’s official launch, over 1,000 players have committed to continue their soccer journey at the collegiate level.

Rooted in the Pacific Northwest, Gallimore spent 26 seasons with the University of Washington women’s soccer team as the second head coach in program history. From 1994-2019, the former Husky coach made 15 NCAA Tournament appearances, broke numerous records and twice earned Pac-12 Coach of the Year awards (2000 and 2019), becoming one of only five Pac-12 coaches ever to do so.

Following her coaching career at Washington, Gallimore was inducted into the Washington Youth Soccer Hall of Fame in 2019 in recognition for over 20 years of excellence coaching players on and off the field, joining OL Reign Academy Executive Director, Amy Griffin, in this honor.

As an inspirational leader, Gallimore was named the first-ever recipient of the Carla Overbeck Leadership Award by U.S. Soccer in March. The honor is given to an individual who demonstrates a unique ability to lead and guide others and who contributes to the success of an initiative that benefits those outside their own organization and places emphasis on collaboration within and among leadership.

A lifelong steward of the game, Gallimore is a coaching mentor as part of U.S. Soccer’s SheChampions Mentorship Program. This program, introduced in fall 2020, pairs coaching mentors and mentees with the aim of growing the sport by investing in and supporting more female coaches. The program also seeks to inspire the next generation of female players and coaches through critical representation in the sport. Many notable coaches have participated in this program, including OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey.

“I’m so happy to have Lesle joining our club,” head coach Laura Harvey said. “She has been a massive supporter of the Reign from the very beginning, she has developed good relationships with several of our players over the years and we have a great working relationship already. I’m looking forward to working with her to elevate our club and continue to drive the traditions and values of what it means to be part of the Reign family.”

Gallimore also spent a year as the President of the United Soccer Coaches organization in 2018. This organization was created with the mission of inspiring coaches and igniting their passion for the game, passing it on to players and others in the soccer community. Continuing her mentorship, she has also been in involved in the Empowering Women and Girls through the Sports Diplomacy Program through the U.S. State Department, traveling to Morocco, Ethiopia, and Israel all in efforts to support and empower women and girls.

In 2016, Gallimore was the first community leader to be honored in the Reign’s Legends Campaign – a campaign that celebrates women in the Pacific Northwest who have made extraordinary contributions to the local community. The longtime Reign supporter also broadcasted some of the Reign’s matches when the team played at Memorial Stadium.

“I’m in the unique position of having watched the club evolve, and now to join in with a thrice shield winning organization to help guide, support, and elevate the environment to even greater heights is an honor and a challenge I welcome,” said Gallimore. “OL Reign boasts a remarkable roster and technical staff whose efforts on the pitch I will attempt to humbly match off the pitch. I can’t wait to get started.”

Gallimore has worked with several active Reign players in the past, both internationally and collegiately. During her time with the Huskies, Gallimore recruited rookie defender Shae Holmes and second-year midfielder Olivia Van der Jagt. Gallimore has also worked with defenders Lauren Barnes and Emily Sonnett and midfielder Rose Lavelle during her coaching tenure with the U.S. U-23 WYNT, as well as goalkeeper Claudia Dickey with the U.S. U-18 WYNT.

Gallimore’s collegiate career victories rank in the top 25 in Division I women’s soccer history. Gallimore participated in 21 NCAA Tournaments, including three as a player at UC Berkeley (1983, 1984, 1986), three as an assistant coach there (1986–1988) and 15 as the head coach at Washington.

OL Reign will host an introductory press conference with general manager Lesle Gallimore on Tuesday, June 6. More details regarding this event will be shared with the media closer to the availability.

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