Grand Rapids FC hires women’s coach


Chris Allen. Courtesy GRFC Women

There's a new coach of the Grand Rapids Football Club’s women’s team.

Christopher Allen was named head coach for the women's team in October, and GRFC President Matt Roberts said Allen checked “all the boxes.”

“He has had great success here in Michigan,” Roberts said. “Not only on the youth level and the high school level, but on the college level as well. He has great relationships with a lot of women players in the area.”

Although the women’s team will be starting only its second season, Allen has big shoes to fill.

GRFC women’s team won the United Women’s Soccer League title last season and ended the year with an 8-1-1 overall mark. The coach, Lewis Robinson, now has moved over to coach the GRFC men’s team.

Allen has coached Davenport University’s women’s soccer team for nine years and will continue in that capacity. The Great Britain native also is an alumni of the school, where he was recruited on scholarship from England a dozen years ago.

“I got offered Division I scholarships to play all over the country, in Florida, Connecticut, California — all over the place — but for some reason I picked Grand Rapids, Michigan, and I still don't know why,” Allen said, laughing.

Allen may not know why, but he has stayed in West Michigan and accumulated many honors. He has a 105-46-16 record while coaching at Davenport and has won the Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference five times.

In 2013, Allen was named National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s coach of the year. He also is director of girls coaching for the Michigan Fire Juniors program.

The GRFC women begin their season in April.

Roberts said there is no limit on the number players who can participate, with approximately 30 players seeing action last season.

Allen said he hopes to recruit women mainly from West Michigan.

“What I want and the club wants is to really represent the city of Grand Rapids and the local areas,” Allen said. “We have so many good players from this area. It is about the community and it reaches out to the community a little bit more. It involves everybody so we can all get excited about it together. We can show what we are all made of, our culture and players from this area.”

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