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Monday, July 15, 2024

Bay FC GM Abruptly Departs Halfway Through Team’s First Season

  • Lucy Rushton has been the NWSL expansion team’s general manager since June 2023.
  • The new club is 5–9 in its first season and ranks 11th out of 14 teams.
Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

Bay FC, the NWSL’s newest expansion team, announced Monday night that its general manager, Lucy Rushton, is leaving the club.

After building a career at franchises in the Premier League and MLS—including as the latter’s first female GM in more than two decades for D.C. United—Bay FC hired Rushton as the California club’s first GM in June 2023.

“Being a part of building a new club in the sport I love is something that I will forever be grateful for,” Rushton said in a statement in the team’s announcement. “This has been one of the hardest decisions of my life, but I believe the right one for me right now. I am excited for and look forward to my next chapter.”

Bay FC’s social media post also hinted at an upcoming career change for Rushton, writing: “We wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

The club broke the women’s soccer transfer world record in February when it paid a fee of nearly $790,000, with the potential for $75,000 more based on performance, for Zambian forward Racheal Kundananji. Rushton built out the largely international roster with other decorated players like forwards Asisat Oshoala from Nigeria and Deyna Castellanos from Venezuela. Rushton also brought in Albertin Montoya, who has a long history of coaching in the Bay Area, as the team’s head coach.

Despite the flashy hires, Bay FC has yet to find consistent success in the NWSL, where the team has a record of 5–9 and sits at 11th in the table.

Rushton’s announcement wasn’t the only major shake-up for California’s NWSL teams on Monday. The San Diego Wave fired head coach Casey Stoney, who has led the club since its first season in 2022 and was named the league’s coach of the year that season. The Wave are 9th in the NWSL standings and have gone seven games without a win.

Bay FC joined the NWSL this season along with the Utah Royals. The investment firm Sixth Street Partners paid the $53 million expansion fee to buy the team in April 2023, becoming the first U.S. professional sports team majority-owned by an institutional investor. The firm has invested at least $72 million on top of the expansion fee for what its CEO, Alan Waxman, has called setting “the standard of what a women’s sports franchise should be.” Former U.S. women’s national team players Brandi Chastain, Leslie Osborne, Danielle Slaton, and Aly Wagner became founding board members of the club through partnerships with Sixth Street.

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