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Sources: Kansas City Current to hire Vlatko Andonovski as head coach

The former USWNT coach returns to the NWSL in Kansas City. He is also expected to hold the role of sporting director.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Vlatko Andonovski is set to become the new head coach of the Kansas City Current, sources with knowledge of the hire told The Equalizer. Andonovski is also expected to carry the title of sporting director to have wider control over roster decisions.

Andonovski spent the past four years as head coach of the United States women’s national team before resigning in August following the team’s elimination from the 2023 World Cup in the Round of 16. It was the worst finish at a major tournament in U.S. women’s national team history.

Andonovski earned the U.S. job in 2019 following his success in the National Women’s Soccer League. He became the first head coach of FC Kansas City (the city’s previous NWSL team that folded in late 2017) ahead of the league’s inaugural season in 2013, when he was a self-proclaimed “nobody.”

FC Kansas City won the 2014 and 2015 NWSL Championships under Andonovski and played some of the league’s best soccer in the NWSL’s first three seasons. FC Kansas City midfielder Lauren Holiday won the inaugural league MVP award in 2013. Holiday and eventual two-time World Cup champion Becky Sauerbrunn enjoyed their best years of club soccer under Andonovski.

Kansas City has long been the home of Andonovski. The 47-year-old, who was born in what is now North Macedonia, settled his family in Kansas City just after the turn of the century to play professional indoor soccer with the Kansas City Comets. He coached the franchise (then the Missouri Comets) from 2013 to 2016 while coaching FC Kansas City, since the NWSL offseason at the time aligned with the pro indoor soccer season.

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When FC Kansas City folded in late 2017, Andonovski took over as coach of Reign FC (now OL Reign) for two seasons, guiding the team to playoff appearances each year. He took over the U.S. job in late 2019 after Jill Ellis left the post with back-to-back World Cup titles in hand.

Andonovski returns to a very different NWSL – and situation in Kansas City – than he left.

The Current is set to open a new privately funded, 11,500-seat waterfront stadium in Kansas City next year. The team opened a new, custom-built training facility last year. Majority owners Angie and Chris Long have spent significantly on salaries, including during the last offseason when the team won the global bidding war to sign attacking star Debinha.

The final days of FC Kansas City were a picture of the league’s first era. FC Kansas City averaged fewer than 2,000 fans per game in 2017, while playing in the main stadium of a youth soccer complex. The field was surrounded by ropes since people could walk around other training fields for different events, and the stadium required a waiver since it failed to meet U.S. Soccer regulations for a first-division venue.

Andonovski’s task on the field is significant. After making it to the 2022 NWSL Championship, Kansas City stumbled through this season, finishing 11th in the 12-team league, two points above last-place Chicago. The Current conceded 36 goals in 22 games. Matt Potter was fired as head coach only three games into the season over an apparent clash with management that was never fully explained by the club. Caroline Sjöblom spent the rest of the season as interim coach.

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