In a surprising yet anticipated move, Vlatko Andonovski, the head coach of the United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT), has decided to step down from his position.The resignation follows a string of difficulties the national squad under his leadership had to overcome. So, U.S. Women’s Soccer Coach Vlatko Andonovski Steps Down.
Having taken the reins in 2019, Andonovski guided the team through two significant international tournaments. However, the results were not in favor of the USWNT as they did not secure the winning titles in both. At the Tokyo Olympics, the team ended in third place, and in this year’s Women’s World Cup. They exited in the round of 16 .
Sources close to the matter have mentioned that the U.S. Soccer Federation will officially announce Andonovski’s exit tomorrow. Despite his contract ending only at the close of this year, the Federation has plans to appoint an interim coach for two upcoming friendly matches. A permanent successor is expected to be announced by the year’s end, aiming for a smooth transition and preparation for the forthcoming Paris Olympics.
This resignation was not entirely unforeseen. The USWNT’s performance at this year’s Women’s World Cup was not up to their usual standards, considering they were champions of the two previous tournaments. They faced a shocking early exit after a penalty shootout defeat to Sweden. In the tournament, where they were one of the top contenders. They managed to beat only Vietnam, drawing matches with the Netherlands and Portugal during the group stage.
Before joining the national team, 46-year-old Andonovski was at the helm in the National Women’s Soccer League for a commendable seven years. He succeeded Jill Ellis, who made a record by becoming the first coach to clinch back-to-back Women’s World Cup titles. With an impressive start under Andonovski, the USWNT won the first 16 matches he coached. They also bagged titles at the Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournament and the SheBelieves Cup in 2020.
However, the coronavirus pandemic, which began six months into his tenure, created substantial challenges, pushing the Tokyo Olympics to 2021. These postponements and the subsequent challenges in the World Cup raised questions about the team’s abilities, strategies, and Andonovski’s tactical decisions. There were also debates around his choice of player roles and substitutions during crucial matches.
While Andonovski’s journey with the USWNT has been filled with both highs and lows, it has surely been an impactful one. The U.S. Soccer Federation and fans will be eagerly waiting to see who fills these significant shoes as the next chapter for USWNT begins.