Chicago Red Stars head coach Rory Dames has resigned effective immediately, the team announced on Sunday.
The news comes a day after the Red Stars suffered a 2-1 defeat to the Washington Spirit in the NWSL Championship match.
“For 11 years, I have dedicated myself to help build the Chicago Red Stars into one of the top international clubs,” Dames said in a statement.
“Effective today, I’m refocusing my attention to my family and future endeavors, and I am resigning as coach of the Chicago Red Stars. I’d like to thank the Chicago Red Stars organization, the fans and the players who I have had the opportunity to work with in their professional soccer careers.”
While the team played its first season in 2013, Dames joined the premature project in 2011 to build from the ground up. As of Saturday, he stood as the longest tenured coach in the NWSL.
“Under Rory’s leadership we have been a remarkably consistent and excellent club on the field,” the Red Stars said in a statement.
“We continually evaluate our team and front office environment, and given the dynamic change underway in the league, it is time to begin the next chapter of the Red Stars with a search for new leadership of the team.”
The Chicago-based NWSL side won their only trophy under Dames, the USASA National Women’s Open in 2012. The team managed to reach the NWSL championship final three consecutive times, failing to clinch the trophy on every occasion.
In a season marked by turmoil and injuries, the Red Stars fought until the very end. They entered Saturday’s final without defender Casey Krueger and forward Kealia Watt, who exited the semifinal early after suffering a knee injury. During the final, Vanessa DiBernardo and Mallory Pugh were subbed off with injuries.
Midfielder Morgan Gautrat now credits Dames for keeping the team performing.
“He’s been the glue that has held this team together, this organization,” Gautrat said Saturday after the game.
“For us, it’s just constantly that he’s had the tactics right and he’s always been the first one to make sure to uphold our standard and he’s pushed us. And also at the same time he’s made us better on and off the field, and for us it’s been super important to have him leading the show.”