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Mark Parsons named next head coach Orange Lionesses

KNVB Media
KNVB Media
21 May, 15:00

34-year-old Mark Parsons will take over from current head coach Sarina Wiegman after the Olympics. - Foto: KNVB Media

Mark Parsons will be the new head coach of the Netherlands women's team. He will lead the Orange Lionesses at the 2022 European Championship in England and during the qualification campaign for the 2023 World Cup. Parsons is currently coach of the American top club Portland Thorns, which competes in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL).

34-year-old Parsons will take over the national women’s team after the Olympics, with current coach Sarina Wiegman set to become head coach of England. In the first few months, Parsons will combines his new position with his job at the Portland Thorns. In 2016, he won the NWSL Shield, after which he was elected coach of the year in America. A year later, Parsons led the Thorns to the NWSL championship. Earlier this month, under his stewartship, Portland Thorns captured the NWSL Challenge Cup, the first prize of the season. Parsons will start working full-time in Zeist in mid-November, after the competition in the United States has finished.

Mark Parsons: "I’m honoured with this opportunity of coaching a world leading team"

Foreign national coach

English-born Mark Parsons, who has signed a contract until the 2023 World Cup, will be the 21st foreign head coach of a national team in the history of the KNVB [scroll down for the full list]. His predecessor is Austrian Ernst Happel, who managed the Dutch team for twelve games in the 1977/78 season. Edgar Chadwick was the first foreign-born head coach from 1908 to 1913. Mark Parsons will make his debut as national coach in the first World Cup qualifier away against the Czech Republic on Friday, 17 September.

Before Parsons took the helm at his current club in 2015, he spent three seasons as head coach of Washington Spirit, which also competes in the NWSL. Prior to his time in the United States, he worked at Chelsea Ladies reserve side in England from 2004 to 2010, where his responsibilities included ultimate responsibility for the club’s academy and the U23s.


 The Netherlands played the 2019 World Cup final against the United States, where Parsons has been successful as a coach since 2010. Photo: KNVB Media

"Great honour"

Mark Parsons, who will be completing the (USFF) Pro License programme this autumn, says he feels honoured with his new position, "It feels incredible to be part of a team that has achieved some special results but also knowing that this team has so much ambition and the future looks incredible. To join this project, to be part of something that is really pushing boundaries in the women’s game is something that I have dreamt of and I’m honoured with this opportunity of coaching a world leading team in my home country against a lot of top countries.”

Jessica Torny will assist Mark Parsons. The former Netherlands player who scored 14 goals in 62 international matches currently heads the women's under-19 and under-20 squads. - Photo: KNVB Media

“I can't wait to meet the players, staff, partners and of course the fans in September and get to work together. This is a very experienced staff, with Jessica Torny moving in to join. Together, I have no doubt that we’ll be able to handle matters and prepare for this very important period of qualifiers. Of course, you can read the writing on the wall. I bet you a lot of money that we’ll face England at some point and Sarina. The fairy tale is already written.”


— Mark Parsons (left) with KNVB Director of Top-Level Football Nico-Jan Hoogma (right) and Managing Director Jan Dirk van der Zee. Photo: KNVB Media

"Benefit for the entire KNVB"

KNVB Director of Top-Level Football Nico-Jan Hoogma – who’s jointly responsible for the technical staff of the highest national women's team together with general manager Jan Dirk van der Zee says,  "We are convinced that Mark is the right person at the right place for the Lionesses. Despite his young age, he has a lot of experience in the top of women's football and he has shown that he can make both talented and top players better.

With his arrival we are also bringing in 'inside info' from the country that has been number one in the world in women's football for years. That is not only a nice bonus for our players and staff, I think the whole KNVB stand to benefit. We are therefore eagerly and ambitiously looking forward to collaborating with Mark."

Overview foreign national coaches at the KNVB

Head coachNationalityPeriodMatches
1. Edgar ChadwickEngland1908-191324
2. Jimmy HoganEngland19101
3. Fred WarburtonEngland1912, 1919-192321
4. Tom BradshawEngland19131
5. Billy HunterScotland19144
6. Jack ReynoldsEngland 19191
7. Harry 'Jim' WaitesEngeland19211
8. Bob GlendenningEngland1923-194087
9. Bill TownleyEngland19241
10. John Edward BollingtonEngland19241
11. Jesse CarverEngland1947-194810
12. Tom SneddonScotland19481
13. Friedrich DonenfeldAustria1955-19563
14. Max MerkelAustria1955-195610
15. Heinrich 'Wudi' MüllerAustria19561
16. George Hardwick England19575
17. Elek Schwartz Romania/France1957-196449
18. Dennis NevilleEngland1964-19658
19. Georg KesslerGermany1965-197028
20. Ernst HappelAustria1977-197812
21. Mark ParsonsEngland2021- -


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