LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kim Björkegren, who led multiple teams within the UEFA Women’s Champion League, will be the next coach of Racing Louisville Football Club, the organization announced today.
The hiring of the European title winner comes after an international search, an interview with team players, and an extensive background check conducted by the National Women's Soccer League.
“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Kim and his family to Racing Louisville,” said James O’Connor, Racing's executive vice president of development. “We performed an exhaustive search looking for someone who has a history of winning and developing players. Kim stood out on both counts as the outstanding candidate. He made an instant impact on the group of players who we involved in the process, and we can’t wait to introduce him to the entire Racing family.”
Racing Louisville abruptly fired its first head coach, Christy Holly, in September, without explanation. Club Academy manager Mario Sanchez coached the team for the remainder of its inaugural season.
Björkegren, a native of Sweden who has coached for 15 years, most recently led Cyprus’ Apollon Ladies FC to an undefeated season. The club took 64 of a possible 66 points and advanced to the Champions League’s second round. Cyprus’ players association awarded Björkegren its Coach of the Year award as a result.
Björkegren, 39, spent about a year and a half coaching in Cyprus following stints in Sweden and China.
“I’m super excited about joining Racing Louisville FC,” Björkegren said. “I have had great talks with the ownership and James O’Connor over the past months and feel like the entire club is breathing optimism. I’m looking forward to working with the entire organization toward our common goals.”
The second Swedish coach to win leagues in multiple countries, Björkegren likens his approach to that of charismatic Liverpool FC manager Jürgen Klopp. Björkegren puts an emphasis on winning — and having a good time while doing it by fostering a solid team spirit.
Outside of this hire, Racing has a link to Björkegren through its star forward Nadia Nadim. The Danish international worked with him as a personal coach for three years before making her own move to the NWSL.
“Kim is a great coach — very smart, tactical, reads and understands the game quickly and has the character to make tough decisions,” Nadim said. “I’m looking forward to working with him to grow as a team and as a player.”
Björkegren has been preparing for his new duties ahead of the NWSL’s Dec. 16 expansion draft and Dec. 18 entry draft for college players. He will make a permanent move to the United States upon approval of his work visa.
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