A new era for U.S. women

Erick Amaya, Staff Writers

The United States Women’s National Soccer Team has entered a new era. Vlatko Andonovski is the new head coach of the long-successful team. The question is if he will be able to fill the shoes of Jill Ellis, who lead the team to two consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup championships in 2015 and 2019. 

My answer is yes. He has many years of experience, which developed him into the candidate to fill Ellis’ glory. He coached in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) since its inaugural season in 2013. He spent five seasons with FC Kansas City, which no longer exists. He led the team to two consecutive NWSL titles in 2014 and 2015. He was the first coach to lead a team in the young league to two titles. Following the championship seasons, FCKC went through a rough patch. Even with limited resources, Andonovski was able to coach a team that competed hard and barely missed the playoffs. 

Following the 2017 NWSL season, he was let go by FCKC because of financial problems, and he was hired by Seattle Reign FC, another team in the league, for the 2018 season. During the 2018 season, he led Reign FC back into the playoffs after missing out for two consecutive seasons. 

With Reign FC, he was given much more financial resources to spend on international players. There, he recruited Australian Stephanie Catley, and Danish Teresa Nielsen, who helped solidify the Reign FC defense, as well as English striker Jodie Taylor, and ultimately put them back into the playoffs. Although Reign FC lost to Portland Thorns FC in the semifinals, he turned the team’s winning mentality completely around. 

For the 2019 NWSL season, he led them to playoffs, again. This time, he’d added Spanish defender Celia Jimenez Delgado, and American forward Bethany Balcer. Balcer proved to be Andonovski’s best signing as she won “Rookie of the Year” honors for her six goals and two assists on the season. 

Following Reign FC’s semifinal loss to the North Carolina Courage this season, he was shortly announced as the new person in charge to lead the U.S. team. Andonovski’s coaching style has been praised by many of the athletes he has coached and by many former players. 

Andonoski’s first test was against Sweden, a team that brings out the best of the U.S. team. He led the team to a 3-2 win, allowing him to start his tenure on the front foot. The team later faced Costa Rica, and he led the U.S. to a dominating 6-0 victory. 

His next test begins in February of 2020, where he will lead the U.S. in Olympic Qualifiers for the Tokyo Summer Games. His first big test will be to lead the U.S. Women to Olympic Glory.