The Washington Spirit has hired Mark Krikorian, who built Florida State into an NCAA women’s soccer power, to become its president of soccer operations and general manager, the National Women’s Soccer League club said Thursday.
“Mark’s track record of developing players and building winning teams is without equal,” Spirit owner Michele Kang said in a statement. “I am thoroughly impressed and energized by Mark’s soccer philosophy, his core values, and the professional standards he demands in creating and maintaining a high-performance environment.”
Krikorian guided the Seminoles to 11 Final Four appearances in 17 seasons and won his third national title in December before resigning in April amid reported conflicts with Athletic Director Michael Alford and the administration. He had a 310-67-36 record.
Krikorian, 62, signed a multiyear contract with the Spirit and will begin work immediately. At Florida State, he was the highest-paid coach in women’s college soccer with a salary of $450,000.
“It’s not often in life when you are presented with an opportunity to work for someone whose commitment aligns or even surpasses your own,” Krikorian said in a statement. “I have high standards and the commitment to excellence that Michele has shown to the Washington Spirit and women’s soccer in general is more than I have ever experienced or could have hoped for.”
Krikorian inherits a role that had been handled by Coach Kris Ward and former team president Ben Olsen, who left the organization this spring.
Ward and several Spirit players, including NWSL Players Association President Tori Huster, were involved in the hiring process. Huster played for Krikorian at Florida State.
“His return to the pro game brings a level of professionalism and sophistication that will help set a high bar for women’s professional soccer,” Huster said in a statement.
Krikorian has experience at the pro level, having coached the Philadelphia Charge for three years in the Women’s United Soccer Association, the first fully professional U.S. women’s league. He also guided the U.S. under-19 women’s national team in 2004.
The Spirit won its first NWSL championship last season but has struggled this year: It is winless in 12 straight matches across all competitions and is in seventh place in the 12-team league with a 1-3-6 record.
This story has been updated.