Vlatko Andonovski is out as USWNT manager… Now what? Clarity deadlines are fast approaching

Vlatko Andonovsky Departure as head coach Of the USWNT is official, and the mutual agreement with US Soccer is certainly an amicable one despite the team’s early exit from the World Cup in the Round of 16. Andonovski’s stepping down has felt inevitable since that loss to Sweden on penalties, with the logistics of terminating his contract before the end of the year that year. will be determined.

Thursday’s official news from US Soccer raises more questions than it actually answers, though at least a few have been asked. There has been official confirmation that Twila Kilgore, an assistant coach with the USWNT since February 2022, will serve as an interim coach for the time being. She will lead the USWNT through two friendlies scheduled in September against South Africa in Cincinnati and Chicago. However, no other information about the rest of the coaching staff has been reported.

The association has confirmed that Crocker will lead the search for a new coach, though this raises its own question — why is Kate Markgraf still (for now) the general manager of the NFL’s women’s program? There is no mention of her in Thursday’s edition whatsoever, and no citation of Andonovski — despite her leading the hunt for coaching in 2019.

The association also did not convey a schedule, process, or any sense of what they might be looking for in a new head coach.

There’s also this sentence: “Prior to NFL’s search for a new athletic director last year, Kuhn and NFL CEO J.T. Batson initiated a review of the sports department that led to changes in the role and scope of athletic management.” No further details were given on how the role and scope will change. It was Matt Crocker Hired in April To lead the union as its athletic director, but there has been no communication from the union between this employee and now about how it might impact or restructure the women’s program.

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His official start date for the transition fully into his AFL role was planned for August 2, but Southampton allowed him to leave early and he started on May 28.

in conversation with the athlete Shortly after being hired in April, Crocker said he was still in learning mode about the USWNT and the women’s program, and trying to ensure World Cup preparations were fully supported. But as a new hire, he didn’t want to disrupt a process that was already underway — his first major task was to hire a head coach for the USMNT, a search that led to The return of Greg Berhalter in June.

Crocker said afterward that the work awaiting him on the USWNT side would be “for the next cycle”.

This time is now here.

Reconsider the hiring process As for Berhalter (second round), maybe offer some insight into how Crocker will handle the hiring process for the WNT role. Crocker described the interviews with MNT as “tough and intense”.

“Everything from psychometrics (the science of measuring mental abilities) to tests of abstract reasoning and logical reasoning to tests where candidates had the opportunity to prepare for certain elements about strategy and what they were going to do, how they were going to develop the team, and then make sure they were tests that they literally had to take,” Crocker said. succumbing to the pressure at that moment in time.” “It gave us an opportunity to get real rich data, and then we took a period of time to sit down and adjust all those numbers effectively.”

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Crocker has a model in place from MNT research, which includes play style, leadership approach, relationship building, and a coach’s ability to “create and lead a vision and identity.”

While matters of visibility and identity have long been essential to MNT, they suddenly became more important to WNT following the results of the 2021 Olympics and 2023 World Cup.

Crocker watches a USWNT practice session in July. (Photo: Brad Smith/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

According to the US Soccer edition, Crocker completed an “in-depth analysis of the women’s national team program and development of a long-term strategy to ensure continued success of American soccer,” resulting in an “operational roadmap that will guide the women forward.”

As of Thursday, none of that has been shared. Not that the work hasn’t been done and the strategic outlook isn’t there, but from the outside, it’s still a void of American football. Will it include greater investment and resources dedicated to player development, talent identification, national youth teams, grassroots level, coaching education – even the NWSL? All of these things should be on the table. But we simply don’t know what the plan is yet.

To be fair, this is a huge undertaking. Union promised in their statement On August 6, “Our goal is to win. We are committed to exceeding the standards we helped create and we will rise to the challenge.”

Eleven days later, the first domino fell. But as of Thursday, the only information we have is what the NFL’s official statement said about Andonovski stepping down. There is no conference call for the media to ask questions and there is surprisingly little to sift through to see what else they might be working on.

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They have an immediate deadline to deliver that strategic outlook in those two friendlies in September. If there is no plan provided from the outside before then, there is only so much they can do to avoid questions while they are on the ground for those games – and it would be extremely unfair to put players and an interim head coach in line to answer questions assigned to that. Organization leadership.

But another, larger deadline is on the horizon. There’s another major tournament a year later, and it’s an opportunity to turn the script around the American football narrative. The information vacuum can only last for so long, simply because the schedule is out of American football’s control.

(Photo: Alex Grimm – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

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