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Washington Spirit upgrades Kris Ward to permanent head coach

Kris Ward, who as an interim head coach guided the Washington Spirit through turbulent times and to the National Women’s Soccer League championship, was given the permanent job Monday.

Ward, 42, took over in mid-August when Richie Burke was suspended, and later fired, following an investigation into allegations of verbally and emotionally abusing players.

After the coaching change, the Spirit’s only two defeats were forfeits for violating the league’s pandemic protocols. The club was 9-0-3 in competitive matches, culminating with a 2-1 extra-time victory over the Chicago Red Stars on Nov.