Richie Burke, a longtime youth coach in the D.C. area, has been hired by the Washington Spirit to coach the National Women’s Soccer League team, a person close to the situation said Thursday.

Burke addressed the players for the first time during a conference call Thursday. Neither he nor Spirit officials responded to messages seeking comment.

Burke was the first choice of the Spirit’s new majority owner, local tech executive Steve Baldwin. Bill Lynch, the team’s primary investor since its launch in 2013, will continue to have an ownership stake, multiple sources said.

Burke’s coaching career has included D.C. United’s academy, National Cathedral School’s girls' program, FC Virginia youth club and, in 2012-13, the head position for Scottish men’s club Livingston. He is a native of Liverpool, England, and played at American University in the early 1980s.

Burke will replace Tom Torres, who served as the interim coach after Jim Gabarra was fired in August. Torres will remain on the technical staff, the source said.

It’s unclear whether the Spirit interviewed anyone else for the coaching job.

Since advancing to the 2016 NWSL final, Washington has fallen to 7-32-9 the past two seasons.

News of Baldwin’s probable involvement and Burke’s candidacy first came to light in October.

The Spirit will continue playing home matches at Maryland SoccerPlex in Montgomery County but is eyeing perhaps two games at United’s Audi Field late in the summer. Washington made its first appearance at that new D.C. venue last August.

Washington will have the fourth overall pick in the NWSL draft on Jan. 10 in Chicago. Training camps for the nine-team league will open March 4 and the season openers will take place April 13-14.

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