Gallimore Becoming the First Commissioner of the GA is Absolutely Great News for Youth Soccer
This has certainly been quite the year so far but the future of the game looks brighter with Lesle Gallimore becoming The Girls Academy Commissioner.
As the former University of Washington Women’s head coach for 26 seasons with a record of 270 wins, Lesle Gallimore is one of the most outstanding collegiate coaches in America. With an amazing record of developing young women including — Hope Solo — who have made an impact on the women’s soccer game, Gallimore is an influential leader in American soccer.
Most of all, Gallimore is dynamic, intelligent, and humble. Far more modest than she ever needs to be, Gallimore is a person who improves whatever she becomes involved with. Openminded, collaborative, and intuitive, under her leadership, the role of the new Girls Academy in youth soccer takes a new vibrancy.
Accepting the position of the first-ever Commissioner of The Girls Academy, the new player development league which rose from the ashes of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy to provide a DA-like option, Gallimore provides more than experience as she assumes the role of leadership — she provides immediate credibility.
University of Washington Athletics’ website states,”(UW) would not be the same without Gallimore’s contributions, nor would the sport of women’s soccer worldwide.”
“I have watched from a distance the youth soccer landscape and I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to make a real impact.”Lesle Gallimore, new Commissioner of The Girls Academy
The GA League consists of 67 teams, primarily from the DA, competing in seven regionalized conferences.
“I want to give back,” said Gallimore. “Women’s soccer has given me everything and this is an opportunity to be giving back.”
What will be the impact of this former United Soccer Coaches president?
Lesle brings incredible credibility to the GA — and, to have credibility in all these different camps in soccer, you have to be collaborative.Anson Dorrance, Women’s head coach at University of North Carolina
“Collaboration in Lesle’s DNA and she is an extraordinarily bright leader who has the support of all of us in the collegiate game,” said Anson Dorrance, Women’s head coach at the University of North Carolina. Dorrance holds one of the most successful coaching records in the history of athletics and is the former U.S. Women’s National Team’s head coach.
“Gallimore was a player I kept thinking of bringing into the Women’s National Team,” said Dorrance. “As a competitor and rival D1 coach, Lesle has always been a unifier who serves the game well. She understands how minor issues should not deflect from the mission.”
“Lesle is the leader everybody wants on their team and I’m excited to see the impact she’ll have in this new role,” said Amanda Vandervort, Chief Women’s Football Officer at FIFPRO. “As my fellow board member at United Soccer Coaches, she was always there to lend an ear but didn’t mince words with her feedback. She leads with purpose, integrity, and empathy and has a profound effect on everyone around her, especially me, and I’m thankful for the many years I’ve gotten to know her and work with her. I wish her congratulations!”
“Lesle Gallimore brings instant credibility to the GA but she’s also a tough taskmaster.”Lynn Berling-Manuel, CEO of United Soccer Coaches
“She is a powerful leader who puts her stamp on everything she does. She will help them stay true to their ideals,” said Lynn Berling-Manuel, CEO of United Soccer Coaches.
“We look forward to Lesle Gallimore’s guidance in providing a platform for our GA players to maximize their potential on and off the field.”Barry Ritson, LA Surf
“Lesle has proven throughout her career that her leadership, integrity, and connection to the women’s game has provided players with the best of the best opportunities and experiences,” said Barry Ritson, LA Surf.
“It is fabulous that Lesle wants to work on the GA platform,” said Michael Duggan, City SC. “She is perfect for what the GA stands for. It is important to have someone who understands the youth soccer club landscape and knows the requirements on the collegiate level — as the DA failed to meet the needs of our female players.”
Lesle Gallimore understands the landscape of the American female player.Michael Duggan, City SC
“My experience crosses all levels of the game — I have been in everyone’s shoes, and one of my strengths is to collaborate with all stakeholders,” said Gallimore who was impressed with what the GA has accomplished so far. “I am happy to learn and listen — for me, it’s about a willingness to listen to people who have been doing the tough work in the trenches for years.”
“The silver lining in the COVID cloud is that everyone is taking the time to take a deep breath. We want the GA to be inclusive. The GA was formed by really quality people and I am looking forward to working with them,” added Gallimore.
Gallimore maintains she does not look at American youth soccer and see The Girls Academy in competition with ECNL but would rather approach her role as commissioner as an ambassador of the game — and forge a powerful collaboration in what has been a continuously fractured market.
She does ask “What does ‘perfect’ look like in youth soccer?” and acknowledges there are issues to deal with such as “Are we pricing kids out of the market?”
As a role model young players can look up to, Gallimore is also determined and steadfast on one crystal clear point.
“We will deliver on the promise we make to players.”Lesle Gallimore, new Commissioner of The Girls Academy
“Gallimore ticks every box that could ever be ticked. She gives our new league stability in our competitive youth soccer landscape,” said Duggan who confirmed the GA does not exclude youth soccer clubs who participate in ECNL and that the league is looking to expand with more high-quality clubs in the future.
“I’m excited to get going, working with everyone — and after all, collaborating is life,” said the newly appointed commish who approaches navigating the future with confidence.
As referenced by Dorrance, Gallimore enjoyed a stellar playing career and was a four-time All-American defender at the University of California, Berkeley. Gallimore led the Golden Bears to the National Playoffs three out of her four seasons while she was earning a degree in psychology — a degree she has obviously put to good use in the wonderful world of player development as well as American soccer.
Here are just a few of Lesle Gallimore’s extensive credits and accomplishments:
Lesle Gallimore Coached …
- Three NSCAA All-Americans (2001-2002 Hope Solo, 2004 Tina Frimpong)
- Six Soccer Buzz All-Americans (2000 Andrea Morelli, Hope Solo, Tami Bennett, & Theresa Wagner, 2003-2004 Tina Frimpong)
- 37 Academic All-Americans
- Six NWSL players (Veronica Perez, Kate Deines, Lindsay Elston, Hope Solo, Kimberly Keever, Sarah Shimer)
- 31 NSCAA All-Region honorees
- Three Pac-12 Players of the Year (2001 Hope Solo, 2003-2004 Tina Frimpong)
- One Pac-12 Defender of the Year (1999 Andrea Morelli)
- 67 All-Pac-12 honorees
- 192 Pac-12 All-Academic honorees
- Cal Athlete of the Decade for 1976-1986
- Pac-12 All-Century Team honoree as a player
Lesle Gallimore Coaching History and Awards
- 2014 U23 U.S. Women’s National Team assistant coach
- 2001 U.S. Women’s National Team assistant coach at Algarve Cup
- U.S. U19 Women’s National Team head coach at USYS/Adidas Cup
- 2019 Regional Coaching Staff of the Year member
- 2019 Washington Youth Soccer Hall of Fame Inductee
- 15 NCAA Tournament appearances
- Won the 300th game of her coaching career against Seattle U in 2019
- 2012 NSCAA Women’s Committee Award of Excellence
- 2000 Pac-12 championship
- 2000 NSCAA and Soccer Buzz National Coach of the Year
- 2000 & 2019 Pac-12 Coach of the Year
- San Diego State head coach (1990-1993)
- Cal assistant coach (1986-1989)