Congratulations, Vlatko Andonovski. Don’t screw it up.
The longtime National Women’s Soccer League coach now has what is arguably the toughest job in sports – at least until Bill Belichick retires. Introduced Monday as the new head coach of the U.S. women’s team, all Andonovski has to do is follow Jill Ellis, who won two World Cup titles and more games than anyone else in the program’s history.
Before Ellis, Pia Sundhage led the Americans to Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012, and a spot in the 2011 World Cup final. Tony DiCicco won World Cup and Olympic titles. Getting the picture?
“What this team has done, and what Jill has done, I think is absolutely amazing,” Andonovski said Monday at a news conference in New York. “Jill was hired to win one World Cup and she won two. It just pushes the standards even higher and made the whole job even more stressful.
“But for me, I was very well aware of it.”
The U.S. players often talk about the culture of their team, and how it’s impressed upon them from their first youth team call-up. This is a program that has produced Michelle Akers, Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach,…