TopOfTheCircle.com

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August 11, 2022 — The one-year experiment

When Mark Parsons left the Portland Thorns of the NWSL to coach the Dutch women’s national soccer team, his departure was under a bit of a cloud. A league-wide scandal surrounding player abuse had enveloped the Thorns franchise because they had employed Paul Riley, who had been removed from his position at the North Carolina Courage after a 2021 story in The Athletic.

While Parsons wasn’t involved in the scandal, members of Portland Thorns management, including general manager Gavin Wilkinson, were targets of supporters’ ire for hiring Riley.

And less than a year later, Riley is jobless. The national governing body of soccer in Holland has fired Riley after the Oranje, the second-place team at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, finished out of the medals at the recent European women’s soccer tournament. It was a highly unexpected result, even though the team finished undefeated in pool play. France, in the quarterfinals, came up with the overtime goal to advance 1-0.

By failing to make the final, the Netherlands not only are shut out of the 2024 Olympic tournament, but now have to win their final UEFA qualification game against Iceland in order to make the World Cup automatically.

That Sept. 6 game will not have Parsons on the sideline.

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