Laura Harvey officially stepped down as head coach and general manager of Seattle Reign FC on Tuesday afternoon. The club moved quickly to replace her with Vlatko Andonovski who was out of contract at FC Kansas City. The news was first reported by Richard Farley of FourFourTwo.
“I am deeply appreciative of all Laura gave to our organization over the past five years. She is a brilliant coach, but more importantly, she is a tremendous individual – there is nobody I would have rather worked with to build the club,” Reign FC owner Bill Predmore said. “Laura’s impact will be felt long after she departs, as she helped establish the enduring values that define what it means to be a part of our organization. Teresa (Predmore, co-owner) and I will be her lifelong friends and fans, as well as her biggest advocates as she pursues her next opportunity.”
Farley’s report included Harvey taking a job with U.S. Soccer. That element is being kept close to the vest as Harvey said she hopes the right opportunity will come along. Earlier this year Harvey spent some time coaching the USWNT U-23s. She did say that she first expressed uncertainty about continuing with the Reign when she and Predmore met at the end of the 2017 season.
“When Bill and I sat down after the season to talk about the future, I just wasn’t sure what I wanted – but I knew the club needed a decision about my plans,” Harvey said. “Given my uncertainty it seemed best for all that I step away now to give the club a proper amount of time to hire my replacement.”
It did not take the Reign long. Acting on a suggestion from Harvey herself, the club quickly moved on Andonovski who as head coach at FC Kansas City twice defeated the Reign in the NWSL Championship. He will take over a Reign club with a strong foundation on and off the field but one that has missed the playoffs each of the last two seasons.
“When I asked Laura who she thought would be best to lead Reign FC after her departure, there was only one name she provided – Vlatko Andonovski,” Predmore said. “I have long admired how Vlatko works with his players, appreciated the grace, precision and resilience of how his teams play, and have long coveted the trophies he delivered as a result of his approach. I am confident he is the best person to build on Laura’s legacy and will help the club achieve its goal of winning an NWSL championship.”
Andonovski has won two NWSL Championships and was named the league’s inaugural Coach of the Year in 2013. But like the Reign, Andonovski and FC Kansas City have been in transition the last two seasons and have missed the playoffs both times.
“Reign FC has established itself as one of the best teams in the NWSL. Every year they are one of the teams contending for the playoffs and a championship. Bill and Laura have done a tremendous job building the organization, and every player and coach wants to be a part of it,” Andonovski said. “I wasn’t initially sure if now was the right time or not, but after meeting with Bill [Predmore], I felt this was different and something I wanted to be a part of. We have a very similar mindset, and our strengths complement each other. I think it will be a great partnership to take this organization to the next level.”
FC Kansas City released a brief statement acknowledging Andonovski’s departure.
“We thank Vlatko for all he has done for this club and we wish him the best of luck in the future.”