U.S. Women’s National Team Coach Vlatko Andonovski has stepped down from his position as head coach following an early exit from the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The U.S. Soccer Federation announced the move on Thursday. Assistant Twila Kilgore will serve as interim head coach. Kilgore (formerly Kaufman) served as an assistant coach for the past year and a half, and in 2021 became the first American-born woman to earn U.S. Soccer’s Pro Coaching License.
“All of us at U.S. Soccer thank Vlatko for his dedication to our Women’s National Team over the past four years,” U.S. Soccer Sporting Director Matt Crocker stated in a news release. “Vlatko worked tirelessly for this team and has been a strong and positive leader for our women’s program. We’re grateful for everything he has contributed to U.S. Soccer and know he has a bright future in the sport.”
Andonovski, who had a brief stint in Philadelphia playing for the Kixx in his playing days, was named head coach of the USMNT in October 2019.
“It’s been the honor of my life to coach the talented, hard-working players of the USWNT for the past four years,” Andonovski stated in the news release. “I’m very optimistic for the future of this program, especially considering all the young players that got opportunities over the past few years who will no doubt be leaders and impact players moving forward. While we are all disappointed by the outcome at this year’s World Cup, I am immensely proud of the progress this team has made, the support they’ve shown for each other, and the inspiration they’ve provided for players around the world. I will be forever thankful to the U.S. Soccer Federation for giving me the chance to coach this remarkable team.”
Crocker will lead the search for a new USWNT head coach.
"We want to extend our deepest gratitude to Vlatko for his dedication to the Women's National Team,” stated U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone. “We know he will continue to contribute to the growth of the women’s game in the United States and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
In advance of U.S. Soccer’s search for a new Sporting Director last year, Cone and U.S. Soccer CEO JT Batson initiated a review of the Sporting Department which led to changes in role and scope of the Sporting Department. Directly after being hired, U.S. Soccer’s Sporting Director Matt Crocker kicked off planning, which included an in-depth analysis of the Women’s National Team program and development of a long-term strategy to ensure U.S. Soccer can continue its success on the women’s side of the game. The comprehensive approach will establish the operational roadmap that will guide the women’s program forward.
“It's imperative that we continue to evolve and innovate, and we are excited about the path that lies ahead,” Crocker stated. “We understand the challenges and have engaged with stakeholders from various corners of our sport – players, coaches, and other individuals within the soccer landscape. The insights and perspectives gathered during these discussions have been instrumental in shaping our forward-looking plan. Our commitment to excellence remains unshakeable, and we believe this strategic plan will set the foundation for our Women's National Team to achieve greater heights in the years to come."
Kilgore's first game as interim head coach will be on September 21 in a friendly against South Africa at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati.