A day after U.S. Soccer and women’s World Cup team coach Vlatko Andonovski parted ways, sources confirmed to FOX Sports that Kate Markgraf will not continue as general manager of the USWNT.
The news was first reported by The Equalizer’s Jeff Kassouf.
Unlike with Andonovski’s departure, Markgraf’s exit is not related to the Americans’ woeful performance at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where the U.S. was eliminated by Sweden in the round of 16. The USWNT had never finished worse than third at any of the previous eight tournaments all-time.
The 46-year-old Markgraf, who was appointed in 2019 as the first GM in program history shortly after the U.S. won its second straight World Cup, decided not to sign a contract extension before the tournament, which concludes with Sunday’s final between England and Spain (coverage begins at 5 a.m. ET with kickoff at 6 a.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app), began last month. Her current deal expires this month.
As a player, Markgraf (nee Sobrero) made more than 200 appearances as a defender for the USWNT. She played in three World Cups and was a member of the iconic 1999 team that won the title on home soil. She’s also a two-time Olympic gold medalist, having been a member of the triumphant U.S. squads at the 2004 and 2008 Summer Games.
Markgraf was less successful in the GM role for the USWNT. Andonovski was her hire — a well-received one at the time who nevertheless failed to deliver on that promise. The U.S. finished a disappointing third Under Andonovski at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. The squad was toothless at the 2023 World Cup, managing just one goal over its final three games Down Under.
Markgraf’s name was conspicuously absent from U.S. Soccer’s announcement that Andonovski had stepped down, the first sign that she might not be back as GM. It’s not clear if the GM role will continue at all for the USWNT; former U.S. men’s national team GM Brian McBride was not retained after his contract expired in January and has not been replaced. A U.S. Soccer spokesperson wouldn’t comment specifically on the women’s GM position when contacted Friday, saying only that “all things are being considered and evaluated as part of the review process following the World Cup.”
The future of the position will be determined during U.S. Soccer sporting director Matt Crocker’s review process following the World Cup, a U.S. Soccer spokesperson told FOX Sports
With Markgraf out, the task of finding a replacement for Andonovski will fall to Crocker, who was hired in April to oversee the federation’s men’s, women’s, youth national team programs.
“Our commitment to excellence remains unshakeable,” Crocker said in Thursday’s statement, adding that the federation had a plan in place that “will set the foundation for our women’s national team to achieve greater heights in the years to come.”
Whether that plan involves hiring someone to replace Markgraf as GM remains to be seen.
Doug McIntyre is a soccer writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports and he has covered United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.
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