Former Puerto Rico national coach Jack Stefanowski, who has coached for years in the metropolitan area, has been hired as goalkeeper coach of the Washington Spirit, the National Women’s Soccer League team announced Monday.
Stefanowski, a former member of the Long Island Rough Riders, also has coached at Stony Brook University, St. Peter’s College and his alma mater, New York University. His youth experience includes tenures with the Downtown United SC and the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association’s Olympic Development Program. He also was an assistant coach with the Brooklyn Knights (Premier Development League).
“It is a great opportunity to join the Washington Spirit organization and technical staff, and I look forward to working together in developing success,” Stefanowski said in a statement. “I am excited to join a team with some of the best female players in the country, and will strive to help them reach their goals.”
He has 17 years of coaching experience, highlighted by tenures as head coach of the Puerto Rico and Nepal men’s national teams.
Stefanowski helped Puerto Rico rise 46 places in the FIFA world rankings from 158 to 112 while serving as interim coach in 2016. He guide led Nepal to its first victory over India in 28 years, while climbing 15 spots in the rankings during his tenure from 2013-2015.
He succeeds Nicci Wright, who served as the Spirit goalkeeper coach last season. Wright will depart the club at the conclusion of the preseason to continue her full-time role with Arlington Soccer Association.
“Jack has incredible experience and having him work with our goalkeepers is a great opportunity for us all,” Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra said. “We want to thank Nicci for her quality and commitment last season and through the transition.”
A Polish-American dual citizen, Stefanowski also is UEFA and USSF “A” License certified, and served on a Puerto Rico Islanders FC technical staff that directed the club to four league titles. He has five years of coaching experience in the CONCACAF Champions League, highlighted by a run to the semifinals and a victory over the LA Galaxy.
Stefanowski rounds out Gabarra’s technical staff, which will feature returning assistant coach Kati Jo “KJ” Spisak and first-year assistant coaches Briana Scurry and Tom Torres.