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NWSL Feb 08, 2020

Utah Royals FC hires Craig Harrington as second head coach in club history

SANDY, Utah – Utah Royals FC has named Craig Harrington as the second head coach in club history.

“I am very grateful to Dell Loy Hansen and Stephanie Lee for this opportunity and I can’t wait to get started on repaying their faith in my vision for the future of the club,” Harrington said. “I enjoyed my time in Chicago and the run to the championship game but making the move to Utah Royals FC was an easy decision for one key reason: potential. The ambition of the club, combined with the hunger and talent of the players, is a powerful mix. I am passionate about success and I am ready to bring that mentality to the Royals, every day.”

Harrington, 38, joins Utah after serving as the first assistant for the Chicago Red Stars. During two seasons with Chicago, Harrington helped coach the team to a 23-12-13 record with back-to-back appearances in the National Women’s Soccer League Playoffs, including the club’s highest finish as the 2019 runners-up. Additionally, during Harrington’s tenure, former Red Stars forward Sam Kerr won back-to-back Golden Boot awards and was voted the 2019 NWSL Most Valuable Player.

“We are excited to welcome Craig to the RSL family. Our biggest priorities in this search were to find someone who understands the competitive level of this League, and who will continue to build upon the Royals established principles and style of play,” General Manager Stephanie Lee said.  “We selected Craig because he not only demonstrated his knowledge of both those elements, but because he believes in building a holistic vision and plan of what we want the Royals to look like and build upon, creating a true organizational identity that aligns with Dell Loy’s vision of globally & locally progressing women’s football.”

Before coaching in the NWSL, Harrington served as the Technical Director and Head Coach for the Turks and Caicos Men’s National Teamwhere he helped elevate the squad to its highest-ever FIFA Ranking, jumping 27 spots in just five months.  

Harrington got his start coaching in 2010 with the LA Galaxy Academy where he saw dozens of players move through the system to the first team, LA Galaxy II and even the national team. As Head Coach of the U-16 squad Harrignton led the team to consecutive US Soccer Development SoCal Division Titles. In 2011 and 2012 he was part of the technical staff for the Major League Soccer side when they won two consecutive MLS Cups.

The hiring committee put together to fill the head coach vacancy began initial interviews with a wide variety of candidates from all different levels of the soccer landscape, half of whom were women. Ultimately it was Harrington’s background in development that gave the hiring committee confidence that he was the right man to carry out the development and growth vision for the club going forward.

Assistant Coach Amy LePeilbet and Goalkeeper Coach Jason Batty will stay on as part of the Royals FC staff. On top of her duties as an assistant coach, LePeilbet will continue to serve as the Head Coach for the Reserves.

Scott Parkinson, who served the past two years as an Assistant Coach and briefly as the Interim Head Coach, has parted ways with Utah. In the past few weeks as the Interim Head Coach, Parkinson helped oversee the 2020 NWSL College Draft that saw Utah selected Tziarra King with the eighth overall pick in the first round, the highest selection in club history.