BLUES ENTERTAIN FORMER COACH

Posted on: Sat 10 Aug 2013

Visitors both old and new were at the squad's final training session of our American trip on Friday afternoon.

Invited along were the local professional women's team, the Washington Spirit, and their coach Mark Parsons, who is a former coach in the Chelsea Academy and Foundation, joining us on tour in America in 2007.

Then, he was fortunate enough to see Jose Mourinho's work up close, and was afforded the same opportunity this time around.

'The mentality doesn't differ, these elite women's players are winners too,' he told the official Chelsea website. 'We can see a pass in training that goes astray at Chelsea means a lot to the lads, it can't happen, and in our sessions we have senior players trying to educate the younger ones like that, so to see that mentality at this level is great, and we're trying to aspire to that. It will take some time, but this is a great help, and Jose Mourinho being back is incredible to see too.'

Fernando-Torres and Mark Parsons

Parsons' own Chelsea story ended in the 2007/08 season after almost four years with the club.

'I started at Chelsea in 2004/05 with the community scheme, coaching at soccer schools around Surrey, and was based at Cobham when it was being built, and I left shorty before the new Academy building opened after working with some of the younger Academy teams,' he explained.

'I also coached the ladies reserve side before becoming the centre of excellence director for about six months before moving out here.

'I have only been head coach with Washington Spirit for five weeks now, and have already travelled to Seattle, New York and around the country. It has been tough because we weren't doing well in the league but we have a very talented group.'

Despite the team's difficulties in this NWSL campaign, there remains a strong supporter base in place.

'We have great support from the club, which is ambitious, and we play on Saturday night against Seattle Reign, whose head coach used to be at Arsenal,' Parsons said. 'That game is live on Fox Soccer.

'Women's soccer in America is incredible. We get 4,500 to games sometimes, and the professional league has only just restarted, with a little less money invested than previously, but we are still selling a lot of tickets. I don't think there is a better league, or one with better potential than the NWSL.

'I've also been watching the WSL in England, and Chelsea have been doing well recently. I don't know Emma Hayes but I know she is very popular among the girls, which is great, and I think she will do really well there.'