Ohio University

Alum of the Month: Vlatko Andonovski

Alum of the Month: Vlatko Andonovski
Vlatko Andonovski, head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team. Photo courtesy of U.S. Soccer.

Vlatko Andonovski, who was named head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT), is The Patton College of Education’s November Alum of the Month. Andonovski completed his master’s degree in soccer coaching education in 2018. At 43, he is the third-youngest head coach in the team’s history.

"We are very proud to have Vlatko Andonovski representing Ohio University as an alumnus, and now also representing the United States as the head coach of our U.S. Women's National Team," said Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis.

OHIO’s coaching education master’s program is nationally recognized and prepares coaches to excel at all levels of competition. It is the only sport-specific master’s degree program in the United States.

“I am thankful for the education that I got from Ohio University,” said Andonovski. “I am thankful for the faculty who challenged me in so many different ways and inspired me to be the best version of myself. The knowledge I acquired at OHIO is something that I have used in my work and will continue using throughout my career.”

Andonovski served as head coach in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) for seven seasons, a stint that included two championships with FC Kansas City. He was named NWSL Coach of the Year in 2013 and 2019.

Several USWNT members praised Andonovski’s coaching abilities in a social media post. Megan Rapinoe, who won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, said Andonovski has a “unique ability to really get the best out of every player and meet them where they’re at,” adding that “his tactical flexibility and knowledge is tremendous.”

A former professional player, Andonovski played six seasons for clubs in the Macedonian Football League. He came to the United States in 2000 after signing with the Wichita Wings of the National Professional Soccer League and later played with the Kansas City Comets, California Cougars, and Philadelphia Kixx of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL). He was a two-time MISL All-Star.

“He was already an accomplished player and coach, but we are excited that one of our graduates has risen to become the head coach of the best women’s soccer team in the world,” said Dr. Carr, associate professor and coordinator of OHIO’s graduate soccer coaching education program. “It was a pleasure to have Vlatko as a part of our graduate program in coaching education, and we wish him all the best.”

Andonovski’s first game was on Nov. 7 in Columbus, Ohio, against Sweden. Carr and other OHIO faculty were in attendance to show support for the former Bobcat.

The CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament begins in January 2020, with the 2020 Olympics following in Tokyo, Japan, in July. The USWNT has won four World Cups and four Olympic gold medals.

“It’s a huge honor, and I’m very excited to get started with this group of players and staff as we work towards continued success for this program,” said Andonovski. “All of the talented coaches and players that have come before have built a legendary tradition of excellence, and I’m committed to working very hard to continue to move this program forward.”

For the story in OHIO News, click here.