Vlatko Andonovski is reportedly in line to be named the next U.S. women's national team head coach, though U.S. Soccer has pumped the brakes on confirming his hire.
The BBC reported on Monday that Andonovski, who guided Reign FC to the NWSL playoffs despite a series of high-profile injuries and absences all season long, will be Jill Ellis's successor. Ellis stepped away following the USA's 1-1 draw vs. South Korea earlier this month, capping a standout run that included two Women's World Cup titles and a program-record 106 victories.
Andonovski has long been thought to be a leading candidate after he was name-checked by USWNT general manager Kate Markgraf as one of her preferred options while she was a TV analyst for ESPN. Others have confirmed they are either not in the running or do not want to be, with NC Courage's Paul Riley and Florida State University women's coach Mark Krikorian both taking themselves out of the running in recent months.
Another candidate previously named by Markgraf, Utah Royals' Laura Harvey, said Saturday night after her team's NWSL season finale that she will not be the new coach, either.
That process of elimination leaves Andonovski, short of a surprise finalist, in the driver's seat. It's not a done deal, though, at least not yet. A U.S. Soccer spokesperson said they have not made a final decision and nothing is confirmed yet, according to SI's Grant Wahl.
Andonovski, who succeeded Harvey as Reign FC coach and won two NWSL titles as coach of the now-defunct FC Kansas City, has the matter of the NWSL playoffs to tend to. His team, which features USWNT star and reigning FIFA Women's Player of the Year Megan Rapinoe, will face Riley's defending NWSL champion Courage on Sunday in North Carolina, hoping to book a return trip there for the Oct. 27 NWSL final.
There figures to be finality to the USWNT coaching search either by then or immediately after. The reigning world champions return to action Nov. 7 vs. Sweden and Nov. 10 vs. Costa Rica in a pair of friendlies that close out the year. In terms of meaningful competition, Olympic qualifying is next on the horizon, with the U.S. seeking to punch its ticket to Japan.