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Laura Harvey on potential USWNT coach opening: ‘My priority is the Reign’

Laura Harvey celebrates an OL Reign victory. (Jane Gershovich/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

The U.S. women’s national team’s early World Cup exit has prompted questions about head coach Vlatko Andonovski’s job security — and who could follow him.

But Laura Harvey isn’t thinking about anything other than OL Reign.

Harvey was on the shortlist for USWNT job in 2019 before Andonovski was selected as Jill Ellis’ successor. Yet after Andonovski has failed to lead the team past the semifinals in two major tournaments, the clock could be ticking on his tenure. His contract is up this year.

Despite the USWNT’s Round of 16 elimination, the earliest in program history, Harvey praised Andonovski. When asked if she had any critiques of Andonovski, Harvey said “not at all,” noting that he’s a “phenomenal” coach and human being.

“I was so privileged to work with him,” she said. Harvey worked as an assistant on the USWNT coach’s staff for the Tokyo Olympics.

U.S. Soccer is still evaluating its next steps after the World Cup loss. In a statement released Sunday, the federation said: “As we always do after a major tournament, we will conduct a review to identify areas of improvement and determine our next steps.”

That hasn’t stopped Harvey’s name from being floated for the USWNT coaching job. But if you ask her, the USWNT is not her focus.

“My focus right now is the Reign,” she said. “We’re in the middle of a season. We’ve put ourselves in a really good position in both competitions that we’re in. And right now my focus is solely on the Reign.”

Still, Harvey knows her name will continue to be thrown around, so much so that she said she “probably will delete all my social media” for a bit just to try and remain on track. OL Reign sits in fourth place in the NWSL standings, just two points back of the top spot.

“I’m very mindful that this is my priority – this job is my priority,” she said. “I love it here, that’s no secret. I’ve committed to the future of this club. … I actually give our team and player credit if my name is anywhere near anything, because that just shows the performances that our group’s been putting in.”

And it could take a lot for the USWNT to pull Harvey away from OL Reign and the NWSL, particularly after she signed a contract extension in July. But she didn’t directly shut down the prospect of coaching for the national team.

“I enjoyed my time at U.S. Soccer. That’s no doubt,” she said. “The U.S. women’s national team is probably the top job in the world, if not a top three job in the world. That’s just reality. And if my name is anywhere near it, then that’s an honor.

“But first and foremost, my priority is the Reign. It is really hard to block it out, there’s no doubt about that, but I’ve lived it before. So I’ve got a little bit of experience with it.”