Former Head of the Reggae Girlz Named New Head Coach of Chicago Red Stars

The former head coach of Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz, Lorne Donaldson, has been appointed the new head coach of the Chicago Red Stars in the United States. Donaldson led the Jamaican team to the knockout stage of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Former Head of the Reggae Girlz Named New Head Coach of Chicago Red Stars

Playing Career

Donaldson attended Kingston College where he played for the school. In 1980, he played for Cavalier F.C. Before he became a coach, Donaldson was called up to Jamaica’s national football team, playing for the side for four years. He then moved on to play for Metropolitan State University in Denver, Colorado. He also played for the Denver Kickers in 1983 when the team won the National Amateur Cup, and in 1997, he played a single game for the Colorado Foxes. Donaldson is a three-time All-American and in 1995 was inducted into the Metropolitan State University Hall of Fame.

Coaching Career

Donaldson’s experience as a coach includes coaching at the youth level with Jamaica’s Under-17 and Under-20 national teams. He also coached the elite youth soccer club, Real Colorado, and serves as president and executive coaching director. In his work with Real Colorado, he has developed a number of National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) stars, such as Janine Beckie and Sophia Smith of the Portland Thorns and Jaelin Howell of Racing Louisville. He worked as an assistant coach at MSU Denver after his playing career came to an end while completing his degree. He was named the 1996 American Professional Soccer League Coach of the Year, and in 1997, became a coach with the Douglas County Soccer Association. Donaldson was named Head Coach of the Jamaica Women women’s football team in 2022. After leading the Reggae Girlz to their second appearance at the Women’s World Cup in 2023, his contract, which ran out in September 2023, was not renewed.

“Always A Part Of My Life”

His contract with the Reggae Girlz was not renewed by a mutual agreement between Donaldson and the Jamaican Football Federation. He subsequently turned down offers from international clubs, saying that he wanted to take a break from coaching the national teams. He noted, however, that coaching always remains part of his life, and he maintained his leadership of the club with 6,000 kids in Colorado.

On to the Red Stars

Coach Donaldson will join the Chicago Red Stars to help them prepare for the upcoming NWSL draft, which takes place on January 12, 2024. The NWSL regular season begins on March 16, 2023. Donaldson is the third coach to head the Red Stars since 2021 after their head coach, Rory Dames, was banned for life by the NWSL for verbally abusing the players. The Red Stars had a difficult season in 2023, experiencing two four-game losing streaks and ending up at the bottom of the league. They were also shut out in five of six Challenge Cup matches. The club was sold to an investor group led by Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts, who noted that Donaldson had a proven record of being a winning coach and an advocate for his athletes. She believes his skills will elevate the players going forward. Donaldson himself has said he is excited to work with the team that includes some of the most talented players in the NWSL. He shared that what he enjoys most is coaching elite athletes to help them attain their highest potential.

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