'Who wouldn't want to coach the best team in the world?' - Andonovski confirms interest in USWNT coaching job

The Reign FC head coach is one of the leading candidates to take over from the departing Jill Eliis
The Reign FC head coach is one of the leading candidates to take over from the departing Jill Eliis

Vlatko Andonovski has confirmed his interest in the soon-to-be vacant U.S. women’s national team head coaching position. 

The Reign FC manager has been mentioned as a top candidate to replace Jill Ellis, who will step down at the end of the USWNT’s World Cup victory tour next month. 

Andonovski, 43, began his NWSL head coaching career with FC Kansas City in 2013, leading the now-defunct side to back-to-back league championships in 2014 and 2015. 

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After FCKC folded in 2017 Andonovski took over Reign FC, where he’s been renowned for his work with the club, particularly in a 2019 season that has seen his side suffer through a number of injuries and World Cup absences. 

Speculation around Andonovski increased after U.S. Soccer hired Kate Markgraf as its first USWNT general manager last month. 

During her previous role as a pundit for ESPN, Markgraf – who will now oversee the USWNT coaching search – mentioned Andonovski as a prime candidate for the job, along with Utah Royals head coach Laura Harvey and Florida State University’s Mark Krikorian (who has since ruled himself out of the running).

Speaking after his side drew the Washington Spirit 2-2 on Saturday, Andonovski confirmed his interest in the USWNT role while also reiterating that he is still entirely focused on his current position with Reign FC. 

“Is there anyone that is not interested to coach the best team in the world?” Andonovski asked.

“Yes, I'm delighted to be mentioned as one of the candidates but right now my main focus and only focus is winning on Wednesday and getting one step closer to the playoffs.

"I’m committed to this team 100 percent until the end, committed to this organization, to the owners and the players with everything that I have.”

Andonovski has developed a reputation as a coach who is able to get the most out of the talent at his disposal and as an insightful tactical mind. 

“I think one of the best things about him is his tactical flexibility and understanding of the game,” Reign FC and USWNT star Megan Rapinoe said. 

“He really is not just trying to play just one specific style and live or die by that. He wants to win games and be successful so he’s really good as assessing the team and who’s available and then putting a game plan together for the team to be successful against the other team.”

Though the Reign are only in fifth place in the NWSL standings, the 2019 season has arguably been one of Andonovski’s finest coaching jobs due to a seemingly never-ending amount of key players who have been sidelined through injuries and international duty. 

“Every time when we felt like this is it, something else happened, and something else happened,” Andonovski said. 

“I’m very proud of the group for everything that we went through and all the adversity, all the challenges everything that was thrown at us. Not at one point did they feel sorry about it.”

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