Florida State's successful coach joins NC Courage's Paul Riley in saying "thanks, but no thanks" to U.S. Soccer.
Florida State women's coach Mark Krikorian is the latest candidate to turn down U.S. Soccer's advances as it relates to the vacant U.S. women's national team coaching job.
Kirkorian has turned FSU into a perennial powerhouse, winning two NCAA championships with the Seminoles, reaching two other finals and being a regular in the College Cup since he arrived in 2005, making nine semifinal appearances in total. His experience within U.S. Soccer is limited to U-19 duty in 2004 and as a USWNT scout in 2011, but he's built a reputation with what he's achieved on the college level, which is still a chief producer of USWNT talent. Nevertheless, he has no plans on leaving his post for the bigger stage of the international women's game.
"They approached me multiple times, and every time I told them that I'm not interested," Kirkorian told The Tallahassee Democrat on Tuesday.
Krikorian joins NC Courage's Paul Riley in passing on U.S. Soccer's interest, which is significant. The two were among four candidates name-checked by Kate Markgraf when she was an ESPN analyst prior to her becoming U.S. Soccer's first USWNT general manager. The other two names she mentioned were Utah Royals coach Laura Harvey and Reign FC coach Vlatko Andonovski, who figure to be the leaders in the race to replace Jill Ellis.
Ellis announced she was stepping down as U.S. manager at the end of July, after winning a second consecutive Women's World Cup title. She is staying on through the end of the U.S. victory tour, which has two more matches to go–both against South Korea in early October. Finding a new manager sooner than later is important, especially with Olympic qualifying on the horizon.
There are some significant decisions to be made on the U.S. women's front, with some key contributors beginning to age out and only 18 players permitted to be taken to Tokyo next summer, provided the U.S. qualifies. For all of its World Cup success, this group of U.S. women have some unfinished business on the Olympic front after an embarrassing quarterfinal exit in Brazil in 2016.
The details of Concacaf's Olympic qualifying tournament have yet to be revealed. Two teams from the region will join a 12-team field that already includes host Japan, Brazil, New Zealand, Great Britain, Netherlands and Sweden.