The U.S. women’s national team has a winning formula, Briana Scurry said. But former head coach Vlatko Andonovski botched that formula at the 2023 World Cup.
The former USWNT goalkeeper, who won the 1999 World Cup and two Olympic gold medals with the team, spoke with the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jonathan Tannenwald after the U.S. was eliminated from this summer’s tournament. And she did not hold back in her evaluation of Andonovski.
Andonovski resigned from the USWNT after the Round of 16 exit, the earliest ever for the program. And the disappointing World Cup finish came after a third-place finish at the 2021 Olympics.
“Vlatko had two bites at the apple and didn’t get it done,” Scurry said. “And a lot of people might say, ‘Well, that’s ruthless,’ but I think it’s just how we organize and how we work with the women’s team. The standard, the bar, is so incredibly high, and he obviously wasn’t up to the task.”
Scurry, 51, also questioned Andonovski’s overreliance on younger players in his starting lineup, especially when compared to the more experience-heavy USWNT lineups of tournaments past.
“I have no problem with the younger players,” she said. “They deserve a chance, they should be expected to be in there. But they should not be tasked with carrying the load, because it’s too much.
“That’s why we win so much, because we have an understanding [that] there’s actually, like, a formula about it. And he broke the formula.”
Andonovski’s departure leaves the USWNT with a vacancy at head coach, and likely with several other positions to fill as well. USWNT general manager Kate Markgraf, who was a part of the group responsible for hiring Andonovski, will also step down when her contract with U.S. Soccer expires at the end of the month.
When asked if she would be up for a position with U.S. Soccer, Scurry did not say no.
“I would definitely consider it,” she told the Inquirer.