The U.S. Soccer Federation has hired Laura Harvey as the full-time head coach of the U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team.
Harvey comes to U.S. Soccer after spending seven seasons as a head coach in the National Women's Soccer League, the past two with Utah Royals FC and the first five with Seattle Reign FC, where she was also the General Manager. She is second all-time in NWSL career wins and led the Reign to the NWSL Shield and championship game appearances in 2014 and 2015. In both years, she was also named NWSL Coach of the Year. She joined the Reign for NWSL's inaugural season in 2013 and leaves the league with an overall 72-52-38 record, including playoff appearances.
Harvey is about to begin the U.S. Soccer Pro License Course and will be its second female candidate.
"Laura is a talented and passionate coach whose knowledge translates extremely well to the international game," said U.S. Women's National Team General Manager Kate Markgraf, who made the hire. "Her women's club and Youth National Team experience in England, her time with our Youth National Teams and her seven professional seasons in the NWSL have prepared her well to help mold the development of our next generation. We are extremely excited to have her as a part of our coaching staff and the U.S. Soccer family."
Harvey's first order of business will be a 26-player training camp taking place in Lakewood Ranch, Florida from January 9-20. From that camp, she will select the 20-player roster for the Concacaf Women's U-20 Championship to be held from February 15-March 1 in the Dominican Republic. The 2020 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup will be held in Panama and Costa Rica this August.
"I'm really excited and happy to come on board with U.S. Soccer," Harvey said. "I'm looking forward to what the immediate future holds and I'm ready to get to work with the most talented young players in the country. Getting back to coaching international football has been something I've been interested in and to be involved with this new generation of National Team players is going to be a great challenge and responsibility. I have enjoyed my time in the NWSL and thanks to the league, I'm in this position, so I want to sincerely thank the Utah Royals and specifically our owner Dell Loy Hansen. I'm very grateful to the Utah Royals and the Reign FC for giving me the chance to live my dream and coach in the United States. Now, working with U.S. Soccer will be extremely rewarding for me. There's a lot of work to do in the short time before qualifying, so I'm looking forward to getting on the field with the players."
Harvey will oversee all aspects of the U-20 WNT program and will also manage the integration and programming of the U-18 and U-19 National Teams to maximize the evaluation and movement of players between age groups for training camps and matches during the World Cup cycle. She will also be reunited and work closely with U.S. Under-17 Women's National Team head coach Tracey Kevins, who was her assistant for two seasons in the NWSL with the Seattle Reign. Harvey replaces Mark Carr, who is the new head women's soccer coach at the University of Oklahoma.
Harvey is no stranger to U.S. Soccer and the international game. She has worked as a scout for the U-17 WNT and has worked as a head coach and assistant coach for the U-23 WNT. As the head coach, she took the U-23s to the annual La Manga Tournament in Spain in 2017.
Harvey, 39, hails from Coventry, England, where she appeared for Wolverhampton Wanderers and Birmingham City during her playing days in the FA Women's Premier League. A knee injury ended her playing career, and she began coaching in 2002, first for Birmingham City as an assistant for four years and then as head coach from 2006-2008. She then moved to Arsenal and had a highly successful run from 2008-2012, ending her stint with three consecutive FA WSL titles, two Continental Cup wins and one FA Women's Cup triumph. She also reached the semifinals of the UEFA Women's Champions League on two occasions.
For Arsenal, she also served as an Academy coach, the Academy Director and Reserve Team Manager.
During her time in England she also gained valuable international experience as the head coach of the England U-15 Girls' National Team and U-23 Women's National Team. Additionally, she was an assistant for the England U-23 WNT, U-19 WNT and U-17 WNT. At the U-17 level, she guided the team through the Euros and to the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Chile. She also helped England to a runner-up finish at the 2010 UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship in North Macedonia.
Harvey holds a USSF A Coaching License and a UEFA A Coaching License. She earned her BA in Sports Studies at the University of Wolverhampton in 2001 and her BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council) National Diploma in Sport from Henley College in 1998.