It’s been a whirlwind week for new United States Women’s National Team head coach Vlatko Andonovski. The 43-year-old was appointed as the replacement to two-time World Cup-winning head coach Jill Ellis on Oct. 28, who left the pst shortly after the conclusion of the victory tour following the World Cup victory in France.
The hiring of Andonovski didn’t come as a surprise, as reports surfaced that he and Utah Royals head coach Laura Harvey were shortlisted by USWNT General Manager Kate Markgraf following Ellis’ departure.
Before his arrival with the national team, the Macedonia native spent seven seasons as a head coach in the National Women’s Soccer League, first spending time with FC Kansas City, where he won two championships, from 2013 to 2017 before joining up with Reign FC from 2018 to 2019. Andonovski will make his U.S. debut in front of an expected sellout crowd at MAPFRE Stadium on Thursday night, just 10 days removed from his introductory press conference.
Despite the short turnaround, the new head coach has studied up on his team and is prepared for the task.
“There’s so many things that you can gather (about the team),’ Andonovski said at a press conference in Columbus on Wednesday. “I think we have a pretty good indication of where they are at in terms of physical preparation this time of the year. We also have a good indication of where they are at the technical and tactical standpoint.”
It’s not uncommon to see a change in tactics when a coach takes the reins of a new team, but Andonovski doesn’t seem eager to rock the boat following the World Cup victory. He has full confidence in his team’s ability to continue its winning ways.
“I don’t think we are going to see a lot of changes. I think the team is in a good tactical stage. They just won a World Cup and we have to respect that,” Andonovski said of his team.
“Obviously there are things I would like to add and keep the team in line with the modern soccer, with the modern trends of the game so (the team) keeps evolving. I’ve said this before it’s not just being in line with the trends but being innovative and creative to set some of those trends.”
Fans are wondering what the 43 year old’s vision for the future of the national team roster looks like. For the final friendlies of 2019, Andonovski included 17 players from the 2019 World Cup. He also called in seven new players that didn’t seen much action under the past regime. Despite his roster choices, Andonovski remains flexible and ready to make adjustments as needed.
“Obviously the focus hasn’t changed. I wanted to get to know the players, I wanted to get to know the system, the structure, how everything works in camp before we go to the qualifiers,” the head coach said. “I want to have the ability to start changing the mentality of the players after the World Cup and the victory tour so they can start focusing on the Olympics. I don’t know what the expectations are from the outside but my own expectations are to win every game.
”My expectations are to win every game even if we play on the street. I just want to win. What is good about the group we have in this camp or our team, they have the same expectations for themselves. They are so competitive that they want to win every game.”