US women’s national team coach Vlatko Andonovski has resigned, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The move comes less than two weeks after the Americans were eliminated from the Women’s World Cup earlier than ever.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the move hadn’t been officially announced. An announcement was expected on Thursday.
The four-time tournament winner struggled during this World Cup. A win over Vietnam to open the group stage was followed by two draws against the Netherlands and Portugal – barely enough to see the team advance to the knockout stages.
The Americans played well against Sweden in the round of 16, but eventually went down on penalties after a goalless draw. The USA scored just four goals over the course of the tournament.
The United States had never done worse in the tournament third.
Andonovski, 46, was named United States coach in October 2019, succeeding Jill Ellis who led the United States to back-to-back World Cup titles. During his time with the team, he finished the season 51-5-9.
It wasn’t just the World Cup that hurt Andonovski’s chances of keeping his job. The United States also ended the Tokyo Olympics with a disappointing bronze medal.
Kate Markgraf, general manager of the US women’s team, stayed with Andonovski after the Olympics and the team focused on developing young players ahead of the World Cup.
Injuries plagued the United States leading up to the tournament, losing two key players. Mallory Swanson injured his knee in a friendly in April and captain Becky Sauerbrunn was unable to recover in time from a foot injury.
The World Cup was a challenge for many elite teams as parity in women’s football continued to grow. Germany, Brazil and Canada, the winners of Tokyo, were also eliminated early.
When Andonovski was hired, he was the head coach of Seattle’s OL Reign of the National Women’s Soccer League.
During his seven years in the NWSL, he managed the now-defunct Kansas City FC from the league’s inception in 2013 to the club’s dissolution in 2017, winning two league titles with the team.
Andonovski, a native of Skopje, Macedonia, played for several teams in Europe before embarking on a professional indoor soccer career in the United States.
His predecessor, Ellis, was appointed coach of the team in 2014 and led USA to eight tournament titles, including victories at the 2015 and 2019 World Cups. During her tenure, USA lost just seven games.
Now the process of finding a replacement begins and the time frame is relatively short. The US has already qualified for the 2024 Olympic Games in France.
Coverage of the AP World Cup: