Spirit News: Amber Brooks Suspended and Spirit Announces New President of Business Operations


The Washington Spirit took up part of the main stage during News Dump Friday in the Woso World. That said, we’ve got some good news and some bad news, so what do you want first? Never mind, we can’t hear you, so here’s the bad news…

Defense attorney Amber Brooks suspended

The National Women’s Soccer League Disciplinary Committee has suspended and fined Washington Spirit defender Amber Brooks for making an obscene gesture towards an assistant referee during the team’s game against San Diego FC. Brooks will miss tonight’s game against Gotham FC due to yellow card accumulation and the following game against Angel City FC due to this decision.

In an image that has become popular with women’s soccer fans on social media, Brooks raised both middle fingers in the air after the umpires awarded a corner kick in the 82nd minute of the San Diego game. Brooks hit her marker to a dangerous ball and cleared it out of play towards the touchline. Except that the assistant referee meant he flew on the other side of the corner flag for a corner, prompting the gesture to express their displeasure during a tense game and moment. Wave goalscorer Alex Morgan put the ball into the net from the ensuing corner kick, bringing her team back from 3-1 to 3-3 and nearly cost Spirt the match.

Brooks was not penalized during the game for her gesture, which the league says violates Section 12.3.6, “Major Game Misconduct,” of the League Operations Manual. Ironically, days before the suspension was announced, Brooks was named Budweiser Player of the Week after winning a fan vote on Twitter. Several fans reposted the Brooks “double bird” image in the comments section of this poll in response to news of yesterday’s suspension.

Emma May is hired as Spirit President of Business Operations

Now for the good news. The Spirit announced that they have hired Emma May, currently Senior Brand Director of Global Athlete Marketing at Nike, as the team’s new President of Business Operations.

“Emma is the perfect leader for our ambitious goal of professionalizing the club and transforming it into one of the best sports franchises in the world,” said team owner Michelle Kang. “Emma’s experience and expertise in branding, marketing and media, particularly in the sports world, is second to none.”

Prior to May’s current role at Nike, her roles included Vice President of Marketing for Bleacher Report Live, NBA Digital and NBA on TNT. Her first day in the new role with the ghost will be October 24th.

May’s hiring is another declaration of intent from majority owner Y. Michele Kang. The first was Kang, who secured the services of Florida State legend Mark Krikorian as President of Soccer Operations. Few know the landscape of women’s soccer in America better than Krikorian, or have more connections. Indeed, due in large part to his relationship with Krikorian, new interim manager Albertin Montoya went from coast to coast to take the helm at Spirit. Given May’s background, she should boast similarly impressive connections and partners.

The position of President of Business Operations in Washington was previously held by Lindsay Barenz, who left the company in August 2021 and is now President of Oakland Roots SC.


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