Mark Parsons | Head Coach
A finalist for 2018 Best FIFA Women’s Coach of the Year, head coach Mark Parsons begins his sixth season with Thorns FC in 2021. Since joining the club ahead of the 2016 season, Parsons has helped lead Portland to an NWSL Championship (2017) and NWSL Shield (2016), back-to-back NWSL Championship appearances (2017, 2018) and the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup. Across all competitions with Portland, Parsons has posted a record of 63-28-22 (.655) and on May 16, 2021 against the Chicago Red Stars earned his 50th win at the helm with Thorns FC.
During his tenure, Thorns FC have finished in the top three in the NWSL regular-season standings in four consecutive seasons, winning the club’s first NWSL Shield in 2016 and the second NWSL Championship in club history in 2017. Portland secured home playoff matches with top-two finishes in in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Under Parsons, Thorns FC have one of the top home-field advantages in the league, register- ing just five losses at Providence Park since his arrival (34-8-8) while also becoming the first team in league history in 2017 to record 10 home victories.
In just his second season with the club, Parsons helped Portland lift the NWSL Championship trophy behind one of the most dominant defensive performances in league history. Thorns FC tied the single- season record for the top defense in NWSL history, posting a 0.83 goals-against average, while also equaling the mark for the most home shutouts (7) in a single season. In addition, Thorns FC finished the 2017 regular-season campaign ranked first in fewest goals conceded (20), fewest goals conceded at home (8) and fewest goals conceded on the road (12).
The 2016 NWSL Coach of the Year in his first season with Thorns FC, Parsons led Portland to the NWSL Shield. With Parsons at the helm, Thorns FC finished the season with a 12-3-5 record as they hosted the club’s first-ever home playoff game. In addition, Portland registered the best home record (8-1-1) and best road record (4-2-4) in the league, while beginning the season with the second-longest unbeaten streak in league history (12 games). Parsons oversaw a defensive unit that became just the third team in league history to allow less than a goal per game over the course of an entire season (19 goals in 20 games, 0.95 goals-against average) and offensively the team ranked second in the league in goals (35) and tied for second in assists (23).
Prior to joining Thorns FC, Parsons served as the head coach and general manager of the Washington Spirit of the NWSL, helping guide the Spirit to consecutive playoff appearances during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Assuming the role of head coach in July 2013 and general manger in September 2013, Parsons helped engineer one of the most successful turnarounds in league history as the Spirit went on to a 10-win season and secured a berth in the league playoffs in 2014 after winning just three games the previous season.
In addition, the Spirit Reserves won the W-League Championship, the U20s were national finalists and five Super Y Academy teams were also national finalists with Parsons at the helm as general manager. As the head coach of the Spirit Reserves in 2013, Parsons led the team to a third-place finish at the Na- tional Championships, while also helping launch the club’s academy programs. In 2012, Parsons helped guide the D.C. United Women U20s to the National Championship match, earning a runner-up finish.
From 2014-10, Parsons worked with Chelsea FC girls and boys academies, while also serving as the head coach for the Chelsea Ladies Reserves from 2008-10 and as an assistant coach with the U16 Girls Academy.
The Cranleigh, Surrey, native holds USSF A and B licenses, UEFA A and B licenses, a US Youth Soccer National Youth license and a NSCAA Director of Coaching diploma.
Mark, his wife, Hannah, and their daughter Edie reside in Portland.