Social media users have largely held USWNT Coach Vlatko Andonovski’s decisions responsible for the team’s elimination from the World Cup.

The United States women’s national team was eliminated from the 2023 World Cup in the round of 16, marking the first time in the competition’s history that the Americans were eliminated before the semifinal round. In the round of 16, the United States lost a penalty shootout to Sweden, missing three shots without forcing a save and then watched a rebound from Sweden go in after Alyssa Naeher made the initial stop.

The United States struggled in the group stage of this competition, finishing second for only the second time in history. It was the first time the Americans failed to win more than one group game, and the inefficiency in the last third was noticeable. Even though the team played its best game against Sweden, it wasn’t enough. The spotlight is now on head coach Vlatko Andonovski.

Who is Vlatko Andonovski?

Vlatko Andonovski is a Macedonian-American soccer coach who has made a significant impact on the women’s soccer scene in the United States. Born on September 14, 1976, in Skopje, Macedonia, Andonovski’s passion for soccer began at a young age. He played professionally in his home country before moving to the United States in 2000.

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Andonovski’s coaching career started in 2007 when he joined the FC Kansas City Women’s Soccer Club as an assistant coach. His coaching talents quickly became evident, and he was promoted to head coach in 2013. Under his guidance, FC Kansas City won the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) championship in 2014 and 2015.

In 2019, Andonovski was appointed as the head coach of the United States women’s national soccer team (USWNT), succeeding the legendary coach Jill Ellis. Taking over the reins of one of the most successful women’s soccer teams in history was a daunting task, but Andonovski was up for the challenge.

During his tenure as the head coach of the USWNT, Andonovski has continued the team’s tradition of success. He led the team to victory in the 2020 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, securing their spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He has also overseen the integration of several young players into the team, ensuring the USWNT remains a dominant force in international women’s soccer.

He has been named NWSL Coach of the Year twice in his career and was named the Best FIFA Women’s Coach in 2020.

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Andonovski’s contract expires at the end of this year, but the USWNT team has not improved as planned under his leadership. The USA lineup included a mix of veterans and new players, but the team was expected to reach the semifinal round and compete for the trophy. The Americans didn’t even come close. Megan Rapinoe came on as a replacement and then missed a critical penalty when the Americans needed her the most.

Individual moments are difficult to attribute to Andonovski, but his tactics against Sweden were effective even though the ultimate result did not favour the United States. However, his steadfastness in sticking with the roster and formation for the majority of the group stage is difficult to comprehend.