Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski was named the National Women’s Soccer League’s Coach of the Year, the league announced today. In his second season in charge of the club, Andonovski led Reign FC to the NWSL semifinals and produced his fourth season with at least 10 wins.
“Being named Coach of the Year is not a personal award for me,” Andonovski said. “It’s an award for the team, for the players that were fighting throughout the whole season. Players that were resilient, doing things that not many players would do. I’m very thankful for the award, but I firmly believe that it reflects more on the job that the players did.”
Votes were tallied on a weighted scale, broken down by players (40%), owners, general managers and coaches (20%), media members (20%) and fans (20%). Andonovski was the clear winner, finishing with 52.7 percent of the vote. North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley finished second with 27.1 percent, while Washington Spirit head coach Richie Burke received 20.1 percent of the vote.
Andonovski used 31 different players to help steer Reign FC to a 10-6-8 record and helped the club secure a second consecutive playoff berth. Despite missing nine players during the FIFA Women’s World Cup and suffering season-ending injuries to key contributors like goalkeeper Michelle Betos and midfielder Jess Fishlock, Reign FC fought through adversity and finished the season strong. The club went 3-1-2 over its final six matches, clinching a playoff spot with a win over rivals Portland Thorns FC in the club’s final home match of the season on September 29.
Reign FC rookie forward Bethany Balcer said that Andonovski’s tutelage played a huge role in her success in 2019.
“My game has vastly improved under Vlatko,” Balcer said. “He’s instilled a confidence in me that has allowed me to play more freely. Coming in, it’s intimidating, but the correction and care that Vlatko coaches with made it easier to settle in. I feel that my knowledge of the game has increased as well. No one knows the game like Vlatko. The way he dissects film and is able to implement tactics into a training session is incredible and it encourages me to watch film and learn more.”
Andonovski is the second coach in club history to win the Coach of the Year award. Laura Harvey won it in 2014 and 2015 after leading the club to consecutive NWSL Shields. Andonovski was previously honored as the 2013 Coach of the Year with FC Kansas City following the league’s inaugural season.
For more about Reign FC head to ReignFC.com.