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USWNT coaching search: OL Reign’s Laura Harvey among finalists

Laura Harvey. (Michael Thomas Shroyer/USA TODAY Sports)

The search for the next head coach of the U.S. women’s national team includes three names at the top of the shortlist, The Athletic’s Meg Linehan reported Friday.

OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey, who also was among the finalists in 2019, is one of them. She is joined by Australia head coach Tony Gustavsson and Juventus women’s head coach Joe Montemurro. While other candidates still may be in consideration, these three are the top contenders, sources told The Athletic.

Vlatko Andonovski stepped down as head coach of the USWNT in August after a disappointing finish at the 2023 World Cup. U.S. Soccer sporting director Matt Crocker set a target deadline of December for Andonovski’s replacement, with Twila Kilgore serving as the interim head coach.

Just Women’s Sports breaks down the three top candidates.

Laura Harvey, OL Reign

A longtime NWSL head coach, Harvey is preparing for OL Reign’s NWSL semifinal match against the San Diego Wave on Nov. 5. While she has said her focus is entirely on OL Reign, she also described the USWNT head coaching position as “probably the top job in the world” when asked about her prospects in early August.

The 43-year-old from England worked in the U.S. Soccer system in 2020 and 2021, serving as an assistant coach for the senior national team and as a head coach at the developmental levels. But OL Reign have struggled in the postseason under Harvey, and the USWNT could choose to steer clear of the NWSL coaching pool after Andonovski’s lackluster tenure.

Tony Gustavsson, Australia

(Maddie Meyer/FIFA via Getty Images)

Gustavsson led Australia to its first-ever World Cup semifinal in 2023. The 50-year-old from Sweden also has experience with the USWNT, serving as an assistant coach under Jill Ellis during the 2015 and 2019 World Cup title runs. After the Matildas’ success at the most recent World Cup, Ellis argued that Gustavsson should be a “strong candidate” for the USWNT opening.

Yet Gustavsson likely would not relocate to the United States, which could affect his prospects, sources told The Athletic. Crocker has said he wants the next head coach to be a hands-on presence within U.S. Soccer, including at its Chicago headquarters.

Joe Montemurro, Juventus

(Juventus FC via Getty Images)

Montemurro, 54, started his coaching career on the men’s side in his native Australia, then shifted to women’s clubs. He left his home country for the Arsenal women’s head coaching job in 2017, and he led the Gunners to the Women’s Super League title in the 2018-19 season. In 2021, he joined Italian club Juventus as its head coach, and the team is in second place in the Serie A standings to start the 2023-24 season.

Despite his strong club résumé, Montemurro brings no experience at the international level, which could hurt his chances for the USWNT job.