Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent4 Minute Read
Former United States women’s national team manager Vlatko Andonovski has been hired as head coach and sporting director of the NWSL’s Kansas City Current, according to club sources confirmed to ESPN.
Andonovski, 47, returns to the city where he previously won consecutive NWSL titles in 2014 and 2015 with the side known as FC Kansas City. The team was relocated to Utah for three seasons before returning to Kansas City as an expansion team in 2021.
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Kansas City had been without a permanent manager since April 19 when Matt Potter was fired. The team was managed on an interim basis by Caroline Sjoblom, but failed to make the NWSL playoffs after finishing 11th out of 12 teams.
The season of struggle comes just one year after the Current reached the NWSL final, losing to the Portland Thorns 2-0.
The Washington Post first reported Andonovski’s appointment as head coach, while The Equalizer first reported his expected role as sporting director.
The appointment is the first for Andonovski since he resigned as manager of the USWNT in August. His departure came following the team’s round-of-16 exit at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the worst finish in the program’s history at a major tournament.
While Andonovski’s record with the U.S. was 51-5-9, his record in major tournaments was just 3-2-5 (games decided by penalties are officially recorded as draws).
Andonovski’s previous managerial experience came at club level, both indoors with the Missouri Comets and as well as with FC Kansas City and Reign FC (now OL Reign) in the NWSL.
He succeeded Jill Ellis as USWNT manager in 2019 as the team was celebrating its second consecutive World Cup title. At the time of his hiring, Andonovski had the support of veteran players, who praised his player-management skills. However, cracks appeared at the Tokyo Olympics where the U.S. fell short of their previous successes, although they managed to secure a bronze medal.
As the 2023 World Cup approached, the U.S. struggled against top sides, losing consecutive matches to England, Spain, and Germany for the first time in 29 years.
During the World Cup, Andonovski faced criticism for his lineups and inability to make in-game adjustments, particularly in his reluctance to utilize his bench.
Now Andonovski will return to the league and the city where he experienced his greatest achievements as a manager.
He will have significant support as owners Chris and Angie Long, along with Brittany Mahomes, wife of Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, have made substantial investments in the club, including $15 million on the team’s training center that opened in June 2022, and $120 million on CPKC Stadium, set to be completed in 2024.
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