US Soccer just announced the new USWNT coach — here’s everything you need to know about Vlatko Andonovski

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Vlatko Andonovski will be the next head coach of the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT). Jane Gershovich/ISI Photos/Getty Images
  • Vlatko Andonovski will be the next head coach of the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT), the US Soccer Federation announced on Monday.
  • The 43-year-old was recently named the NWSL Coach of the Year after leading the injury-laden Seattle Reign to their second consecutive playoff semifinal.
  • He came highly recommended by multiple current USWNT players, including striker Megan Rapinoe and midfielder Allie Long.
  • Andonovski will have his work cut out for him managing player injuries and egos heading into the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, where the USWNT will look to avenge its 2016 quarterfinal exit.
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Former head coach Jill Ellis — who led the team to World Cup victories in 2015 and 2019 — stepped down from her post after the USWNT finished its “Victory Tour” with a 1-1 draw against South Korea on October 6.

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Former USWNT head coach Jill Ellis. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The search for Ellis’ replacement began shortly after she announced her retirement, and rumours swirled about the US Soccer federation’s potential picks — including England manager Phil Neville, Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro, NC Courage head coach Paul Reilly, and Utah Royals head coach Laura Harvey.

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NC Courage head coach Paul Reilly. Erin Donnery

On Sunday, Reilly led the the Courage to its second consecutive National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) championship with a 4-0 victory over Sam Kerr’s Chicago Red Stars.


But ultimately, the US Soccer Federation went in a different direction, settling on Vlatko Andonovski as the next head coach of the United States Women’s National Team.

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Vlatko Andonovski. Jane Gershovich/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The 43-year-old was recently named the NWSL Coach of the Year after leading the injury-laden Seattle Reign to their second consecutive playoff semifinal.

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Vlatko Andonovski. Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A number of current USWNT stars spoke highly of Andonovski to the federation. Megan Rapinoe, who currently plays for the Macedonian-American coach in Seattle, sang his praises before he was chosen for the job.

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Megan Rapinoe and Vlatko Andonovski. Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images

Andonovski took over the helm for the Reign in 2018, he coached the NWSL’s FC Kansas City for four seasons and led them to back-to-back league championships before the club folded in 2017.

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Vlatko Andonovski looks on as his Kansas City squad takes on the Washington Spirit in 2017. Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Prior to his coaching career, the Yugoslavian-born footballer played professionally as a defender across various European leagues for six seasons before transitioning to playing indoor soccer at the highest level in the US.

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Vlatko Andonovski. Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Today, Andonovski is known as the best tactical coach in the NWSL, which is widely regarded as the world’s premier women’s soccer league.

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Vlatko Andonovski. Jane Gershovich/ISI Photos/Getty Images

He has a reputation for developing his players and has a strong understanding of the US youth soccer system, from which the USWNT draws its talent.

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Vlatko Andonovski. Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

USWNT midfielder Allie Long — who played under Andonovski for the past two seasons in Seattle — went so far as to call the coach “one of the most intelligent soccer brains that I’ve ever come across” and “best candidate for [the USWNT head coaching position],” according to SBNation.

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Seattle Reign and USWNT teammates Allie Long and Megan Rapinoe pose with the 2019 World Cup trophy. Naomi Baker – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Source: SBNation


US Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro and USWNT general manager Kate Markgraf introduced Andonovski in a press conference Monday afternoon.

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Cordeiro, Markgraf, and Andonovski. USWNT/Twitter

But Andonovski has his work cut out for him as he prepares to take over the helm of the world’s best women’s soccer team.

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Vlatko Andonovski. Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Starting defender Crystal Dunn may be sidelined for the USWNT’s final friendlies of the year due to an ankle injury she sustained during Sunday’s NWSL championship match.

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Crystal Dunn dons a boot on her right foot after the NWSL championship game. Erin Donnery

Read more: US Women’s National Team star Crystal Dunn suffers nasty ankle injury during NWSL championship game


Star striker Alex Morgan, who announced her pregnancy last week, may not return in time for the 2020 Olympics.

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Alex Morgan. Ira L. Black – Corbis / Getty Images

Read more: USWNT star Alex Morgan just announced that she’s pregnant on social media


And 37-year-old USWNT legend Carli Lloyd, who publicly scorned Ellis for failing to start her during the team’s 2019 World Cup run, has threatened to retire should she not play a larger role on the team in the 2020 Olympics.

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Carli Lloyd. Catherine Ivill – FIFA / Getty Images

Read more: USWNT captain Carli Lloyd said the 2019 World Cup was ‘absolutely the worst time of my life’


Andonovski will have his first chance to gel with the current national team players next week as they take on Sweden and Costa Rica in their final two friendlies of the year.

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USWNT. VI-Images / Getty Images

Now read more on Carli Lloyd’s plans to join the NFL after her soccer career comes to a close:

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Carli Lloyd. AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Read more: Carli Lloyd is serious about becoming an NFL kicker after finishing her USWNT career – ‘I’m entertaining it’