Vlatko Andonovski has agreed to become the next coach of the United States women’s national team, according to two soccer officials familiar with the decision, and he will be introduced as the 10th coach in the program’s history early next week.
Andonovski, who spent the last two years as coach of Reign F.C. in the National Women’s Soccer League, will replace Jill Ellis, who announced in July that she would step down after leading the team to its second straight World Cup championship. Ellis departed with 106 victories, the most in the team’s storied history, and only seven losses.
Andonovski has not signed a contract with U.S. Soccer, but a deal is expected to be completed in time to introduce him as Ellis’s replacement early next week.
In hiring Andonovski, U.S. Soccer has entrusted its crown jewel — a world-leading women’s team filled with stars who see themselves as top professionals, social activists and role models — to a 43-year-old Macedonian-American immigrant who spent years as a player for European clubs and in American indoor leagues before moving into coaching. As a coach in the N.W.S.L., he has become a familiar face to the members of the United States team, including a handful who have played for him, and a respected voice in American women’s soccer.
Andonovski spent the last seven seasons in the N.W.S.L., the top American league, where he won two championships and was named coach of the year with F.C. Kansas City. He has spent the last two years as the coach of Reign F.C. outside Seattle, building a squad around the national team fixtures Megan Rapinoe and Allie Long. The Reign reached the N.W.S.L. playoffs both years.
Andonovski’s immediate task with the United States women’s team will be to qualify for next summer’s Tokyo Olympics. The Americans, four-time Olympic champions, were knocked out in the quarterfinals at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, failing to medal for the first time since women’s soccer joined the Olympics in 1996.
Once the hiring is official, the United States players can expect to take part in their first camp under Andonovski next month, when they play friendlies against Sweden (Nov. 7 in Columbus, Ohio) and Costa Rica (Nov. 10 in Jacksonville, Fla.).
U.S. Soccer also has told N.W.S.L. players not currently in the national team player pool that it will hold a talent identification camp in December. Current members of the women’s national team, and others who spent significant time in national team camp this year, will not be invited to that camp, which will be used to evaluate prospects who could eventually be called in with the main group.
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