GERMANTOWN, MD - Former college standout and W-League Champion Cindi Harkes has been named as the first assistant coach of D.C. United Women, joining head coach Michael Jorden in leading the new W-League team when it begins its first-ever season in May.
"Cindi is a top-class coach with extensive experience helping young women develop into outstanding soccer players," said D.C. United Women General Manager Tim Schweitzer. "Her experience as a successful college player and former W-League player will be crucial in helping Mike develop a team that will be exciting to watch."
"This is a tremendous opportunity, and I'm excited to once again be a part of top level soccer in Washington," Harkes said. "I've played and coached in this area for a long time, so I know this region is rich with soccer talent. I'm looking forward to helping build a successful franchise with D.C. United Women. It all starts this Saturday with our first tryouts."
Harkes and her husband John, the former captain of D.C. United and now an ESPN soccer game commentator, are long-time youth coaches in Northern Virginia. She played travel soccer in Braddock Road Youth Club (BRYC) in Fairfax, and in 2008 was named to the Virginia-D.C. Soccer Hall of Fame as a player.
A three-time Virginia State Cup champion as a youth, Harkes comes from a successful soccer family. Her father, Ron Kunihiro, was a long-time coach with BRYC, including Cindi's Regional championship team, BRYC Galaxies. Her brother Tim was also a standout player, winning state and regional titles with BRYC and the VISTA Force and played four years at the University of Virginia.
Cindi was a member of the Virginia and Regional Olympic Development Program teams and was named to the U19 U.S. Youth National Team. She was a four year starter at WT Woodson High School - where she was "Athlete of the Year" her senior year - and was a three-time Washington Post All-Met player.
At the University of Virginia, Harkes was a four year starter, a three-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference team selection and an NCAA Academic All-American.
She then traveled to England to compete with the Sheffield Wednesday Ladies and the Stanton Rangers. Harkes later returned to the United States and played for the Maryland Pride which won the inaugural W-League title in 1996 and won three U.S. Amateur Soccer Association national championship titles with SA United. In 2003 she was a player-coach of the Northern Virginia Majestics of the W-League.
Cindi is co-founder of the TeamHarkes Soccer School for Girls summer camps, and currently serves as Director of Coaching for FC Virginia, while also coaching the club's U14 and U11 girls teams.
Harkes has already been hard at work with coach Jorden at team staff identifying players. The full staff will get their first chance to see prospective players in action this Saturday at the Maryland SoccerPlex, where the first open tryout will be held. Tryout registration will be limited to the first 50 players registered through the team website at www.dcunitedwomen.com.
D.C. United Women will draw players from a large pool of elite college-bound and active college standouts, international stars and former professionals. With numerous notable veteran stars and top collegiate programs in the Washington metro area, expectations will be high when United takes the field this summer.
The team opens the season on May 25th with a visit to the 2005 W-League Champions, New Jersey Wildcats. The club will kick off its home season on Thursday, June 9th with a rematch against the Wildcats at 7:00 pm. United Women will play their home matches at the SoccerPlex's Championship Stadium.
D.C. United Women fill the vacancy left by the departure of the Washington Freedom Futures and will play their home matches at the Maryland Soccerplex in Germantown, Md. Also the former home of the WPS Washington Freedom, the Soccerplex is an ideal showcase for women's minor league soccer in the D.C. metropolitan area.
About D.C. United Women
Headquartered in the Washington, D.C. region and playing home matches at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md., D.C. United Women is a member of the United Soccer Leagues' W-League. The first and longest-standing women's league in North America, the W-League is USL's highest level of women's soccer in the United States and Canada. In addition to featuring international and professional stars, elite amateur players have the opportunity to compete on amateur teams in the league while maintaining their collegiate eligibility. The league is recognized throughout the world for providing superior competition for female players, while offering affordable family entertainment for fans across North America. Licensed by D.C. United, the W-League team is independently owned and operated by Washington Soccer Properties, LLC, which also operates youth teams in the USL Super-Y League under the name DC Alliance. Visit http://www.dcunitedwomen.com for more information. Follow the team on Twitter @dcuwomen.