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NWSL: Chicago Red Stars Appoint Former Jamaican Coach

Written by Oluwaseun Oyediji

United States of America (USA) National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) side, Chicago Red Stars has named Lorne Donaldson as the club’s new head coach.

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The former head of the Jamaican Women’s National Team led the Reggae Girlz on a historic 2023 Women’s World Cup run as Jamaica became the first Caribbean nation to advance to the round of 16.

68-year-old Donaldson joins the Red Stars ahead of the 2024 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Draft.

Before joining the Red Stars, Donaldson served as the assistant head coach (2019) and head coach (2022-2023) of Jamaica, helping lead them to two consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments.

As head coach during the 2023 Women’s World Cup, Donaldson led Jamaica to defeat Panama and stave off powerhouse teams, Brazil and France, along the way to advancing to the round of 16.

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Donaldson’s coaching experience includes time on the youth level where he coached the Jamaican under-17 and under-20 youth national teams, and with the elite youth soccer club, Real Colorado, where he serves as president and executive coaching director.

Through his position with Real Colorado, Donaldson has developed many NWSL stars including Janine Beckie (Portland Thorns FC), Jaelin Howell (Racing Louisville FC), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), and Mallory Swanson.

Coach Donaldson will join the Chicago Red Stars in the coming weeks to help the coaching staff prepare for the upcoming NWSL Draft on Friday, January 12. The NWSL kicks off the 2024 regular season on Saturday, March 16.

Meanwhile…

Roccaro joined the Red Stars during the 2023 preseason as a free agent, bringing a needed veteran presence to the team’s midfield.

This season, Roccaro led the club in starts after playing and starting in 25 matches out of a possible 28 across the Challenge Cup and the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) regular season.

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The midfielder also led the team in passing percentage completing 83.6% of her passes.

Back in June, the Red Stars traveled to New Jersey to take on Gotham FC in the teams’ second meeting of the season.

In the second half of that match, Chicago found themselves down 1-0, but after a weather delay, the team came out of the locker room ready to strike back.

In the 54th minute, forward Sarah Griffith received a pass that took her behind Gotham’s back line.

Griffith attempted a cross that was blocked but rebounded back to the forward who then took a touch past the defender, picked her head up, and sent a low cross to the middle of the 18-yard box that found a charging Cari Roccaro who delivered a perfectly placed shot to the back of the net.

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