Vlatko Andonovski Resigns as USWNT Coach After Early World Cup Exit – An insider informed the Associated Press on Wednesday that Vlatko Andonovski, the coach of the US women’s national team, has stepped down from his position. This decision comes shortly after the team’s elimination from the Women’s World Cup, which happened in a sooner stage than ever experienced before.
The team, which has won the World Cup four times in the past, encountered difficulties throughout the tournament. They began with a victory against Vietnam in the group stage, followed by two draws against the Netherlands and Portugal. These results barely allowed the team to progress to the knockout stage.
In the round of 16, the American team performed well against Sweden; however, they ultimately lost in a penalty shootout after a goalless draw. Throughout the entire tournament, the US team managed to score only four goals. The United States had always secured a ranking no lower than third place in previous World Cup competitions.
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Vlatko Andonovski, aged 46, assumed the role of coach for the United States in October 2019, succeeding Jill Ellis, who had led the team to consecutive World Cup victories. Throughout his tenure, Andonovski achieved a record of 51 wins, 5 draws, and 9 losses, and in significant tournaments, his record stood at 3 wins, 2 draws, and 5 losses.
After the match against Sweden, Andonovski expressed that he wasn’t contemplating his future with the team, but rather focusing on his young players. Among the players on the US roster, fourteen were making their debut in the World Cup, and twelve of them had never participated in a major tournament before.
“We spent four years together. They got their first caps with me, they got their first national-team call-ups with me,” Andonovski said. “We spent tough times, good times. I don’t want to see them like that. That’s all I think about.” Andonovski’s bid to retain his position faced setbacks not only from the World Cup but also due to the United States’ disappointing attainment of a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
Subsequent to the Olympics, Andonovski shifted his focus towards nurturing young talents in preparation for the impending World Cup. Among the emerging players were Sophia Smith, who held the title of US Soccer Player of the Year in the previous year, and Trinity Rodman. The United States encountered the setback of injuries leading up to the tournament, as two key players suffered significant losses.
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Mallory Swanson sustained a knee injury during an April friendly, while captain Becky Sauerbrunn couldn’t recuperate from a foot injury in time. Furthermore, Catarina Macario, a promising young forward, suffered an ACL tear while playing for her club team Lyon the previous year, rendering her unavailable for participation in the World Cup.
The World Cup posed challenges for several elite teams due to the escalating parity in the women’s game. Notably, Germany, Brazil, and Canada, who secured victory in Tokyo, also faced early eliminations. The upcoming final in Sydney between England and Spain promises a first-time champion for the tournament.