NWSL: Houston Dash hire James Clarkson as club’s third coach

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ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 22: Orlando Pride defender Toni Pressley (3) and Houston Dash forward Nichelle Prince (14) during the NWSL soccer match between the Orlando Pride and the Houston Dash on April 22, 2018 at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, FL. (Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Houston, Texas (December 11, 2018) — The first head coach vacancy is fill in the National Women’s Soccer League.

The Houston Dash have elected to go internal, hiring James Clarkson as the franchise’s third head coach. Clarkson fills the void left by Vera Pauw, who departed this past season for the Netherlands. Pauw led the team to a sixth-place finish with a record of 9-10-5.

NWSL: Houston Dash hire James Clarkson as club’s third coach

Clarkson has more than a decade of experience with the Dash and Houston Dynamo organization. He recently served as the director of youth development with the Dynamo Academy.

If it wasn’t for Clarkson, the Dynamo Academy wouldn’t exist.

According to a press release from the Dash, Clarkson oversaw the creation of the academy in 2007. There have been 10 players that have signed with the Houston Dynamo from the squad. Clarkson also created the Brazos Valley Cavalry FC, Houston’s team in the Premier Development League (PDL).

He was the team’s head coach from 2017-18.

Clarkson said he’s “really excited” about the opportunity and is already looking forward to meeting and working with the players. NWSL players report for preseason in the beginning of March.

“I think we have a fantastic core of players and we really have a strong squad,” Clarkson said. “We will look to add to the current squad in order to really give us a chance to build on the foundation from last season and push forward in 2019.”

Brian Ching, the managing director of the Dash, said that he’s looking forward to building on “everything we accomplished last season.”

“James has been involved with the club in different ways over the years and he was one of our top candidates when this process began in September,” Ching said. “We look forward to a fantastic season with him and his entire technical staff.”

Assistant coach and technical staff positions are being filled.

Making Houston home

A little over 20 years ago, Clarkson first stepped foot in Houston.

He’s not a native of the city, but has adopted it to be his new hometown. Clarkson is from Wisbech, England, which is in proximity to Petersborough and Cambridge.

According to the Dash, Clarkson holds a UEFA A License, USC Advanced National Diploma, USSF ‘A’ and National Youth and Academy Director License. Clarkson has also participated as a national instructor for U.S. Soccer and U.S. Youth Soccer during his time in Houston.

His professional playing career includes time in New Zealand with Manawatu AFC. He also featured for his hometown club, Wisbech Town FC in 1996.

Clarkson is married to his wife, Lizz, and holds U.S. citizenship. He gained citizenship back in May 2013. He and Lizz have two children, boys named Jack and William.

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