CHICAGO — In an era of change for Chicago’s National Women’s Soccer club, the current on-field leader is on the way out.
Chris Petrucelli’s time in that position comes to an end less than two years on the job.
The veteran soccer manager will not be retained for the 2024 season and won’t lead the club in their 2023 season finale against OL Reign on Sunday at SeatGeek Stadium. Assistant coach Ella Masar will be the interim manager for that match before the team does a full search in the offseason.
Petrucelli was 16-18-19 in just short of two seasons, leading the team to the NWSL playoffs in 2022.
“We appreciate Chris’s service as coach, especially during this ownership transition, and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” said Red Stars executive chairperson Laura Ricketts in a statement released by the club.
Petrucelli was the manager during a time of major change for the franchise, starting with his hiring in the winter of 2022. He replaced Rory Dames, the only manager the Red Stars had in their time in the NWSL, after he resigned following allegations of player mistreatment.
In his first season, the club went 9-7-6 with a lot of the core group returning from the club that went to the NWSL Championship in 2021. In their regular season finale on October 2 at SeatGeek Stadium against Angel City FC, the Red Stars won 2-0 to clinch a berth in the playoffs for a seventh-straight year.
They would lose to San Diego Wave FC 2-1 in the first round of the NWSL playoffs.
This season would bring more change as a number of key contributors, including Sarah Gordon, Vanessa DiBernardo, Danielle Colaprico, were traded or left in free agency. On top of that, Arnim Whisler sold the franchise after the Yates report was critical of his dealing with abuse claims against Dames, with a group led by Laura Ricketts purchasing the club this summer.
During the 2023 season, the team dealt with the dismissal of general manager Michelle Lomnicki and what would be a season-ending injury to NWSL MVP candidate Mallory Swanson. Before their season finale, the Red Stars are 7-11-3 on the season and have been eliminated from playoff contention.