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Kansas City Current taps Vlatko Andonovski as next head coach, sporting director

He previously led FCKC to NWSL titles, coached USWNT
US Andonovski Resigns Soccer
Posted at 6:05 AM, Oct 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-23 14:07:36-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Welcome home, Vlatko Andonovski.

The Kansas City Current officially announced early Monday morning that Andonovski, who formerly coached FC Kansas City of the NWSL and the U.S. Women’s National Team, was returning to town to helm the club as its head coach and sporting director.

“Kansas City is home, and always will be,” Andonovski said in a statement. “This club is very ambitious, and they have an ownership group willing to do what it takes to meet their goals. I am grateful to Angie, Chris, Brittany and Patrick for this opportunity to lead my hometown team. The fans here have always been passionate, and it has been so exciting to see them grow and make Kansas City one of the best atmospheres in the NWSL, and it will only get better in the new stadium.”

Reports emerged late last week that a deal between the Current and Andonovski — a 47-year-old native of North Macedonia, who resigned from the national team in August after losing in the round of 16 during the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup — was imminent.

“We are thrilled to welcome Vlatko to the Current,” co-owners Angie and Chris Long said in a statement. “We talk all the time about our desire to be the best women’s football club in the world, with Vlatko that brings us one step closer to that goal. His football acumen and his penchant for developing talent will keep this team competitive on the world stage and make Kansas City a destination club for players across the world.”

The Current, who debuted in 2021, finished as NWSL runners-up in their second season last year but slipped to 11th in the 12-team women’s professional soccer league and missed the playoffs this season.

With the Current set to open a new stadium next March, which is believed to be the first in the world purpose-built for a women’s pro sports team, the return of Andonovski ignites what should be an intriguing and important offseason.

He was FC Kansas City’s first head coach when the NWSL was founded and led the Blues to consecutive championships in 2014 and 2015.

Andonovski also coached the Kansas City Comets indoor professional men’s soccer team, leading them to the 2013-14 MISL championship.

When FC Kansas City folded after the 2017 season, Andonovski moved on the Seattle Reign, who subsequently moved to Tacoma and rebranded as the OL Reign.

Andonovski went 43-28-20 in five seasons with FC Kansas City and 21-11-16 in two seasons with the Reign. He was the NWSL Coach of the Year in 2013 and 2019.

Andonovski was hired on Oct. 28, 2019, to take over the USWNT, which he led to a bronze medal at the Olympics two years ago before the early exit at last summer's World Cup.

The USWNT went 51-5-9 on Andonovski’s watch.

Now, he’ll start over where his American soccer journey began.

After a pro career in Europe, Andonovski moved to Wichita, where he played one season for the Wichita Wings of the National Professional Soccer League.

He joined the Comets as a player in 2001, scoring 48 goals in 110 games during the next five seasons.

After his playing career wrapped up with stints in California and Philadelphia, Andonovski returned to Kansas City as the then-Missouri Comets assistant coach in 2010.

Now, he’s back in Kansas City and takes over an underperforming roster that includes global women’s soccer superstar Debinha, who led the Current with nine goals last season, and Overland Park native Cece Kizer, who scored six goals in 2023.

The goal will be the same as his time with FC Kansas City — deliver NWSL championships, albeit for a new ownership group, in a new stadium and with a new collection of players.

Andonovski’s predecessor, Matt Potter, was fired after an 0-3 start and the Current finished the rest of the season 8-9-2 under interim coach Caroline Sjöblom, who had been an assistant on Potter’s staff.

Andonovski will be introduced as head coach and sporting director by the club at a press conference at 10 a.m. Monday morning.