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US women’s head coach Vlatko Andonovski steps down after team’s World Cup elimination

Vlatko Andonovski has stepped down from his position as head coach of the US Women’s National Team (USWNT), the US Soccer Federation announced Thursday.

The federation said in a press release that US Soccer and Andonovski mutually agreed to part ways.

“All of us at US Soccer thank Vlatko for his dedication to our Women’s National Team over the past four years,” US Soccer sporting director Matt Crocker said in the press release.

“Vlatko worked tirelessly for this team and has been a strong and positive leader for our women’s program. We’re grateful for everything he has contributed to US Soccer and know he has a bright future in the sport.”

The US lost to Sweden in a dramatic penalty shootout in the Women’s World Cup round-of-16 earlier this month, ending the dream of an unprecedented three-peat. The four-time World Cup winner failed to reach at least the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in its history.

“It’s been the honor of my life to coach the talented, hard-working players of the USWNT for the past four years,” Andonovski said in the US Soccer announcement.

“I’m very optimistic for the future of this program, especially considering all the young players that got opportunities over the past few years who will no doubt be leaders and impact players moving forward.

“While we are all disappointed by the outcome at this year’s World Cup, I am immensely proud of the progress this team has made, the support they’ve shown for each other, and the inspiration they’ve provided for players around the world.

“I will be forever thankful to the US Soccer Federation for giving me the chance to coach this remarkable team.”

Andonovski was named the ninth coach in the team’s history in October 2019. He set the US women’s record for best start in history after winning his first 11 games at the helm. He managed the team during its run to a bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics.

“We want to extend our deepest gratitude to Vlatko for his dedication to the Women’s National Team,” US Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone said in the press release. “We know he will continue to contribute the growth of the women’s game in the United States and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Crocker, who will lead the search for the next US women’s head coach, has named Twila Kilgore as interim head coach. Kilgore has served as an assistant coach for the US squad for the past year and a half.

This post appeared first on cnn.com

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