Houston Dash head coach Vera Pauw has informed the club that she will not seek a contract renewal in order to return to The Netherlands and be closer to family, the club announced today.

Pauw was introduced as the second full-time head coach of the Houston Dash last November after she served a two-year stint with the South African Women’s National Team. She returned to her native Holland at the end of the regular season. The search for Houston’s third full-time coach will begin immediately. 

“While the Houston Dash is a phenomenal club with huge potential and an amazing fan base, I have decided to not pursue a contract extension. Although we set club records in many categories and stayed in the playoff race until the final week of the season, it is best for me to go back to my husband in The Netherlands,” Pauw said. “I thank club management for the ongoing support of the changes that had to be made. I leave a young team that is ready for the future. The foundation is set, and I wish the club the success it deserves.”

Pauw finished with a 9-10-5 record on the Dash touchline and led the club to 32 points and sixth place. Houston finished five points shy of its first playoff appearance in franchise history but set records for wins and goals scored (35) in a single season.

“It was an honor and a pleasure to work with Vera this past season,” Dash president Chris Canetti said. “She did a wonderful job in pointing the club in the right direction. As a result, a strong foundation has been built, and the team is well positioned for greater success in 2019. I respect her personal decision and wish her all the best in her future.”

Of the 35 goals scored this season, 16 were scored by first-year players and newcomers to the team. Three players selected in the 2018 NWSL College Draft – midfielder Haley Hanson, defender Kimberly Keever and forward Veronica Latsko – combined for 51 appearances for Houston this season and scored six goals and tallied three assists. South African forward Thembi Kgatlana and midfielder Linda Motlhalo joined the club as discovery signings and contributed to seven goals in 37 combined appearances. Additionally, midfielders Sofia Huerta and Kyah Simon, both of whom joined the team during the season, combined for another seven goals and six assists.

Canetti and Dash Managing Director Brian Ching will lead the search process and will oversee all aspects of the team until a new coach is identified.