Vlatko Andonovski, who has coached the U.S. women’s national team since 2019, has resigned from the position, according to multiple reports. An official announcement from U.S. Soccer is expected Thursday.
Assistant coach Twila Kilgore will reportedly serve as interim coach for the USWNT’s two friendlies against South Africa in September. Soccer outlet 90min was the first to report that Andonovski was set to resign.
The USWNT saw its earliest-ever World Cup exit under Andonovski, losing to Sweden in a penalty shootout in the Round of 16. The team had never been eliminated before the semifinals. Andonovski, 46, also led the team to a bronze-medal finish at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.
During the World Cup run, which ended with a 238-minute scoring drought from the USWNT, he faced criticism for the team’s inability to finish its chances and for his disinclination to make substitutions.
Since the USWNT’s elimination, Andonovski has been firmly in the hot seat. He took the helm in 2019, succeeding two-time World Cup-winning coach Jill Ellis, but he struggled to manage a roster transitioning from legendary veteran players (Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn) to a new wave of talent (Sophia Smith, Naomi Girma).
His contract was set to expire at the end of the calendar year. In 2019, Andonovski signed a four-year deal worth approximately $400,000 per year. He led the U.S. to a record of 51-9-5 in that time, and just a 3-2-5 record in major tournaments.
In the immediate aftermath of the USWNT’s loss to Sweden, Andonovski downplayed the chatter over his future with the team. U.S. Soccer announced at the time that it would “conduct a review to identify areas of improvement and determine our next step.”
Andonovski, who coached FC Kansas City and Reign FC (now OL Reign) in the NWSL before taking over the U.S. job, is a candidate for the current head coach opening with the Kansas City Current, according to ESPN. The former NWSL Coach of the Year is also drawing interest from multiple teams at the international and club levels, The Athletic reports.
As for where the federation could turn for the next head coach, Ellis proposed Australia’s Tony Gustavsson, who just led the Matildas to the World Cup semifinals. Candidates also could come from other World Cup teams (Canada’s Bev Priestman, Jamaica’s Lorne Donaldson) or from the NWSL head coaching ranks (OL Reign’s Laura Harvey, Washington Spirit’s Mark Parsons).
U.S. Soccer will continue to evaluate the women’s program, including the role of current USWNT general manager Kate Markgraf, ESPN reports. The USWNT has under a year to prepare for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, adding urgency to the decision-making process.