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Washington Spirit promotes interim head coach Kris Ward

The team took home its first NWSL championship less than a month ago.

WASHINGTON — The Washington Spirit's interim coach Kris Ward is now the team's head coach. The club promoted Ward just a few weeks after the team won the National Women's Soccer League championship. 

Ward took over as interim coach in August when former head coach Richie Burke was initially sidelined due to "health reasons." Burke was fired after the Washington Post detailed allegations of abuse against him, painting a picture of a toxic team environment. 

Ward led the team through some of its darkest days as interim coach. The team struggled through more league investigations into its owners, and then was found to have violated COVID-19 protocols, which led to the Spirit forfeiting two matches. 

But through it all, the Spirit managed to go 9-0-3 and brought the District of Champions its first NWSL trophy. Team officials say Ward provided the type of coaching the team needed, and he's being rewarded for it. 

RELATED: Washington Spirit win first NWSL championship

Ward called his promotion a "dream job."

"I've been very lucky throughout my career to work with some amazing people and players, but it's rarely been a situation where I've been able to direct everything," Ward said. "Being able to show everyone how I want to help players and help them improve, push them and get more people to the national team. It's really great, and it's really unbelievable in many ways."

RELATED: 'You always knew she was going to be something special': Before winning NWSL title, Andi Sullivan was a star in Bethesda and McLean

Ward said the job did not come easily for him. 

"It's a lot for me personally. As much as players work to where they are at, it is the same for coaches," he said. "This has been 22 years of coaching for me now, and to get to this position, it's showing that all of the hard work that's gone on in the past was worthwhile and was able to help me in this endeavor. It's definitely rewarding for sure." 

Details on Ward's contract were not made available. But he says he's already begun focusing on the next season, and in exit interviews, his players told him that they are equally ready to repeat as champions, with Ward leading the way.

WATCH: Washington Spirit overcome turmoil on and off the field to win their first NWSL championship. 

RELATED: Washington Spirit win it all; DC athletes, elected officials react on social media

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