The United States and Mexico have withdrawn their joint bid to host the 2027 Women’s World Cup, per a Monday afternoon release from U.S. Soccer and the Mexican Football Federation.

According to the statement, they will instead focus on developing a "more equitable" bid for the 2031 tournament, with the ultimate goal of "eliminating investment disparities" between the men’s and women’s tournaments.

The federations went on to cite the upcoming 2026 Men’s World Cup in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico as an opportunity to build support for local infrastructure, improve audience engagement, and scale up media and partnership deals in preparation to "host a record-breaking tournament in 2031."

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"Hosting a World Cup tournament is a huge undertaking — and having additional time to prepare allows us to maximize its impact across the globe," said U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone. "Shifting our bid will enable us to host a record-breaking Women’s World Cup in 2031 that will help to grow and raise the level of the women’s game both here at home as well as across the globe."

The decision leaves just Brazil and a joint bid from Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands in the running for the 2027 host spot. Brazil — the rumored frontrunner — has never hosted a Women’s World Cup, while Germany hosted the 2011 tournament as a solo venture. 

Furthermore, this postponement doesn’t mean the U.S. is a shoo-in for 2031, as it's been previously reported that 2022 UEFA Women's EURO host England is considering their own Women's World Cup bid. FIFA is scheduled to confirm the winning bid after the FIFA Congress votes on May 17th.

U.S. women’s national team head coach Vlatko Andonovski’s time with the USWNT might be nearing its end, as his four-year contract concluding at the end of the calendar year coincides with a disappointing Round of 16 exit from the 2023 World Cup.

Andonovski’s tenure has come under review as the U.S. prepares to regroup for the 2024 Olympics. Part of the conversation will include a necessary investigation into the circumstances in which he was hired. Andonovski was a standout coach in the NWSL before taking the U.S. job, succeeding Jill Ellis, who had experience in the NCAA and as an assistant coach within the USWNT system.

One of the greatest criticisms of Andonovski during his tenure has been that he ran the U.S. too much like one of his club teams, a trap that others could just as easily fall into when faced with player development and the high expectations of a winning culture. Despite the USWNT head coaching position being one of the premier jobs in the world of women’s soccer, it is also one of the most difficult.

Those tasked with finding a steady hand for the future will have to weigh the balance of knowledgeable leadership and the opportunity for a fresh start.

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OL Reign coach Laura Harvey came close to getting the USWNT job in 2019. (Michael Thomas Shroyer/USA TODAY Sports)

The NWSL

In light of Andonovski’s middling record at major tournaments with the USWNT, attention has turned to the league that produced him. At the time of his hiring, Andonovski seemed like a natural fit for the national team. He had seen many members of the upcoming player pool up close every day in the NWSL, and he had a track record of success when it came to roster growth and advancing in the knockout stages of league playoffs.

But following disappointing results at the international level, picking his successor from the same coaching pool might not make the most sense. OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey came close to getting the job in 2019 and is a popular choice to replace Andonovski. Mark Parsons and Casey Stoney are also well-respected in the NWSL, while few other candidates have the experience or successful track record to stand out.

Harvey, Parsons and Stoney aren’t quite home runs, however, for some of the same reasons Andonovski is no longer likely to retain his job. Harvey is beloved by her players and has had consistent regular season success at the NWSL level. But her squads are pulled from top talent she can compile as a manager rather than developed from a young age, and she has never had a particularly strong record in knockout matches. Her teams also play in a similarly pragmatic and suffocating style that Andonovski tried with the U.S., without much success.

Parsons, head coach of the Washington Spirit, already tried his hand as an international coach, in a run with the Netherlands that ended after a lackluster Euros campaign. He seemed to fall victim to similar issues as Andonovski, confusing players with overly complex messaging and leaving them without clear roles in his system. Stoney is progressing toward a strong coaching resume, but her time with the San Diego Wave has not been definitive, as the team has sputtered slightly in their second year.

Ultimately, what makes a good club coach does not necessarily mean that person is right for a national team position. There’s no one who understands that lesson better than Andonovski himself.

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After leading to Canada to an Olympic gold medal, Bev Priestman has dealt with federation dysfunction. (Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Other national teams

As with the end of any World Cup cycle, there will be other international coaches looking for new jobs. U.S. Soccer could decide that the best fit for the four-time World Champions is someone with experience at the highest international level. A number of possible candidates, however, might present more of a lateral move than a step forward.

Pia Sundhage is reported to be on the outs in Brazil, but the U.S. already moved on from her management once, and she never led Sweden or Brazil to a major tournament win in the years since leaving the USWNT. Other national team coaches have either had mercurial tenures or have yet to experience a full cycle with their squads.

So, does the USWNT try to poach a top name? Maybe. Sarina Wiegman has no outside reason to step away from her wildly successful tenure with the England national team, and Germany’s Martina Voss-Tecklenburg would not be a good personality fit for the American group (Germany also crashed out of the World Cup early). Herve Renard has just begun his work as the coach of France, and his commitment to the women’s game remains unclear.

Coaches who might be more attainable are Canada’s Bev Priestman, Jamaica’s Lorne Donaldson or even Australia’s Tony Gustavsson. Priestman is very committed to her current group, but dysfunction under Canada Soccer might prompt a change. Donaldson hasn’t committed to his future with Jamaica beyond Olympic qualifying, and he has Colorado club connections to several USWNT rising stars, including Sophia Smith and Mallory Swanson. Gustavsson has experience as a U.S. assistant coach, and has shown his ability to lead as Australia has progressed through their home World Cup.

U.S. Soccer will have to balance the need for a fresh perspective on the team’s player pool and knowledge of talent rising through the ever-diversifying pipelines in the women’s game. Looking outside the insular NWSL or college system might be the best way to guarantee a bold change from the Andonovski era.

Outside the box

It’s possible, if unlikely, that U.S. Soccer will break the mold in other ways when pursuing a new manager. Top college coaches have long been considered for the job in the past, though the further away the professional game moves from the college system, the less relevant their experience becomes.

There’s also a desire to see former players take the reins, but the coaching pipeline is only just now opening up the requisite training and experience for new coaching demographics to emerge. Club coaches from overseas might provide the requisite new perspectives U.S. Soccer is looking for, but they could also fall prey to Andonovski’s issues with international management while also lacking familiarity with the USWNT player pool.

There is a tactic that would open up the pool considerably: Hiring a coach who, up until this point, has primarily coached on the men’s side. As the women’s coaching pipeline continues to grow, the USWNT might need to find someone who can produce results immediately. France’s appointment of Renard is a good example of the free-flowing exchange between sides, and that might be exactly what the U.S. needs.

Claire Watkins is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @ScoutRipley.

Mana Shim is joining Gotham FC on a short-term injury replacement contract, the club announced on Sunday.

“I am excited to return to the NWSL as part of Gotham FC. It’s a demanding and professional environment that’s focused on players first, and they have put together an incredibly talented group that I’m honored to share the field with,” Shim said in a statement.

The midfielder will be available to play in Sunday’s game against the Chicago Red Stars (5:30 p.m. EST, Paramount+).

Shim previously played in the NWSL as a member of the Portland Thorns (2013-17) and Houston Dash (2018). She makes her return to the NWSL after a five-year hiatus; her last league game was on June 2, 2018.

In 2021, Shim and Sinead Farrelly publicly accused their former coach, Paul Riley, of sexual harassment and coercion in a story published by The Athletic. The story prompted Riley’s firing and opened multiple investigations into abuse in the NWSL. Following the release of the U.S. Soccer-commissioned Sally Yates report in 2022, Shim was named chair of a U.S. Soccer Participant Safety Taskforce. Per Gotham FC’s press release, Shim will continue serving in her full-time position with U.S. Soccer while playing in the league.

Farrelly, who took her own six-year break from soccer, also resumed playing earlier this year as a member of Gotham FC. Sunday’s game will mark Farrelly and Shim’s first NWSL game as teammates since 2015.