Former head coach of the Reggae Girlz, Jamaica’s senior women’s football team, Lorne Donaldson has been appointed head coach of the Chicago Red Stars.
His appointment comes after a three-month-long search as announced by the Chicago Red Stars on Wednesday.
It comes less than three months since he failed to agree terms with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to extend his contract after guiding the Reggae Girlz to a historic run to the Round of 16 at the FIFA Women’s World Cup held this year in New Zealand and Australia. Along the way to the last 16, the Girlz held football powerhouses France and Brazil to 0-0 draws and got by Panama 1-nil. The feat was accomplished at Jamaica’s second-ever appearance at the World Cup.
Donaldson was part of the coaching staff when Jamaica qualified for their first Women’s World Cup in France in 2019.
Chicago Red Stars noted that Donaldson previously coached Jamaica’s women’s national team and made mention of their historic achievement, being the first Caribbean nation to advance to the round of 16 at the World Cup.
He will be the third head coach in the Red Stars’ National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) history and is set to join the club in January ahead of the 2024 NWSL Draft. The club currently has five picks in the upcoming draft, including the No. 3 overall selection, and recently hired former U.S. Soccer chief legal officer Karen Leetzow as new club president.
The 68-year-old onaldson has coached various youth teams from club level to international level. He spent time as Jamaica’s Under 17 head coach and was an Under 20 and full national team assistant before being named full-time head coach of the Reggae Girlz.
“Lorne is the right person to lead us next season,” said Leetzow. “Lorne’s experiences as a decorated player and as a winning coach on the youth, professional, and international level will be invaluable for our players, coaches, and staff who have the opportunity to learn from him.”
“I’m excited to work with this talented team that includes some of the NWSL’s best players to turn the Chicago Red Stars into a championship club both on and off the pitch,” said Donaldson. “I look forward to partnering with Laura Ricketts and Karen Leetzow, who are committed to creating a culture of excellence and accountability. What I have most enjoyed in my career is coaching elite athletes and helping them reach and exceed their fullest potential.”