Last month, Reign FC was sold to OL Groupe, the parent company of Olympic Lyon in France.
On Friday, the team hired a coach who played for Olympic Lyon, then coached the Olympic Lyon women’s team for nearly a decade.
Farid Benstiti, who has won eight domestic titles coaching women’s teams in France, Russia and China, was announced as the third coach in Reign FC’s history.
Vlatko Andonovski, who coached the Reign the past two years, is now the coach of the U.S. women’s national team. Benstiti emerged from a group of candidates who were interviewed.
“We are excited to welcome Farid to the Reign FC family,” Reign FC CEO Bill Predmore said in a release. “Our goal was to find a world-class coach that has a proven ability to deliver titles at the top levels of the game. We also sought a leader who would both appreciate and enhance the unique culture we developed over the past seven years. I selected Farid because I believe he embodies our values, shares our ambitions, and has demonstrated he is capable of leading our team to its ultimate objective of an NWSL championship.”
Benstiti played for Olympic Lyon from 1984 t o 1989, then coached the Olympic Lyon women from 2001 to 2010, winning four straight domestic titles at the end of his tenure.
Benstiti takes over a Reign team that has had a winning record the past six seasons, won the Shield title for most points in 2014 and 2015, and finished as runner-up in the playoffs those two years.
“The biggest challenge is not changing mindsets,” Benstiti said in a release. “The club has to keep its values of solidarity, respect for the players, and retain its family spirit. Of course, we want to improve the club, but we have to make sure the transition is smooth. The most important thing is to work together toward the same goal: the success of the club. I believe that our players and coaches all must do everything to push toward our new ambitions for Reign FC.”
Benstiti said the players and their abilities will dictate the style he chooses. The league’s schedule has not been released, but regular-season games begin in April.
“The style that we’ll play depends on the qualities of the players,” he said. “Of course, I want everyone to enjoy playing a good attacking style with plenty of goals, but sometimes that’s not enough. We have to respect some principles to remain a strong team. I’ll do my best to make sure the team is in a position to play well every week.”