Jeff CarlisleAmerican football reporter4 minutes of reading
Vladko Antonovski has stepped down as its manager The U.S. Women’s National Team, sources confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday.
An announcement from the U.S. Soccer Federation confirming Antonovski’s departure is expected on Thursday.
Sources said current assistant coach Twila Kilgore could be appointed as interim coach for the two friendlies against South Africa on September 21 and September 24, although that deal is yet to be finalised.
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Soccer outlet 90 Minutes first reported Antonovski’s resignation.
The move comes after the U.S. team was eliminated in the round of 16 by Sweden at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, the fastest exit from the tournament in team history.
Combined with a lackluster bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, Antonovski had no way forward.
His record with the United States was 51-5-9, and his record in major tournaments was just 3-2-5 (matches decided by penalties are officially recorded as draws).
U.S. Soccer leadership has spent several weeks with players, coaches, staff and Antonovski since the USDNT was fired, sources told ESPN.
That effort was led by USSF athletic director Matt Crocker, who was hired earlier this year. In the end, both sides decided it was best not to return Antonovski, who is contracted until the end of 2023.
A review of the US Women’s Team program is ongoing, including discussions about USWNT General Manager Kate Markgraf’s role moving forward.
A source familiar with the situation told ESPN that Antonovsky is a candidate for the manager’s job at the Kansas City Current. The NWSL club is currently led by interim manager Caroline Sjoblom.
Antonovski, 46, was hired by US Soccer in 2019 following the resignation of two-time World Cup-winning manager Jill Ellis.
Despite his previous managerial experience at the club level, in the NWSL with the Missouri Comets and later FC Kansas City and Reign FC (now OL Reign), Antonovski had the support of veteran players who praised his player. Management skills.
But cracks began to appear at the Tokyo Olympics, with the U.S. far less than the side that prevailed at the 2019 World Cup two years ago.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a subdued atmosphere at the Olympics, was cited as one of the reasons for the USWNT’s lackluster performance, which ended up winning the bronze medal. As a result, Antonovski made the decision to bring in young players.
The US continued to rack up wins in friendlies, but the team struggled against the top teams. In late 2022, the USWNT suffered back-to-back losses to England, Spain and Germany, its first defeat in 29 years.
The U.S. advanced again to win the SheBelieves Cup against Brazil, Canada and Japan in 2023, but concerns about the team’s midfield persisted.
The U.S. also endured unfortunate injuries that ruled out Caterina Macario, Mallory Swanson, Sam Mewis and Becky Sauerbrunn. Julie Ertz’s return to the team after giving birth to her son Madden in August 2022 strengthened the side, but not in the way expected.
Instead of bolstering a struggling midfield, Sauerbrunn’s injury forced Ertz to move to the backline. After all, the U.S. roster saw 14 of the 23 spots taken by debutants at the Women’s World Cup.
As the World Cup began, Antonovski faced criticism for his lineups and inability to make changes in the game, particularly his reluctance to use his bench.
The USWNT opened the World Cup with a 3-0 win over Vietnam, but draws against the Netherlands and Portugal left the U.S. second in Group E.
The U.S. was almost eliminated after Portugal substitute Ana Gabetta’s shot came late in the 0-0 draw.
The Americans had a much-improved performance in the Round of 16 against Sweden, but scoring remained a problem — the U.S. scored just four goals in four games — and the defending champions were eliminated on penalties.
Regarding Antonovski’s replacement, the USSF needs to act quickly, with the 2024 Olympics less than a year away in Paris.