The Houston Dash and Head Coach James Clarkson have agreed to a new contract, the club announced Tuesday.
Clarkson, the third head coach in franchise history, heads into his third year on the touchline. Through two seasons, he has compiled a record of 14-15-6 across all competitions, including a mark of 7-3-1 in 2020. His leadership was crucial during the 2020 campaign, which was interrupted on multiple occasions by the global coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the start-and-stop nature of the season, Clarkson led the Dash to the club’s first ever league title on July 26 when Houston defeated the Chicago Red Stars to capture the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup.
“It’s an honor to lead the Dash. I’m very excited to continue working with the outstanding staff, players and everyone associated with the club. I would like to thank John Walker and the ownership for providing this opportunity and my family for always being there,” Clarkson said. “We will continue to improve and build on this amazing year - it’s an exciting challenge.”
The Dash capped off the year by earning $15,000 in grant money for NAACP Houston after a stellar performance throughout the 2020 Verizon Community Shield, scoring a total of 12 goals against North Carolina Courage and Orlando, the highest scoring total in a four-game span in club history. Clarkson finished his second year with seven victories in 11 matches this year.
The Wisbech, England native joined the Dash in 2019 after spending more than a decade with the Houston Dynamo Academy, most recently he served as the director of youth development. Clarkson oversaw the creation of the Dynamo Academy program in 2007, helping develop 10 players who have signed professionally with the First Team, including current First Team players Erik McCue and Memo Rodriguez.
During his first year in charge of the squad, Clarkson led the team to seven victories and helped secure the first friendly match between NWSL and Liga MX Femenil clubs when the Dash visited Tigres UANL Femenil on Oct. 10 at the iconic Estadio Universitario.
“We have a team full of good people with ambition and determination to fight for championships. Next season, we will hopefully be able to play in front of all our fans and continue this journey together,” said Clarkson.