Seattle Reign FC announced on Tuesday that head coach and general manager Laura Harvey has resigned her position, but also immediately laid to rest any questions about the coaching vacancy by announcing they have signed Vlatko Andonovski to a two-year contract. Andonovski, who has won two championships with FC Kansas City, will also serve as the executive director of Reign Academy. Harvey will stay on with the Seattle front office through the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition for Andonovski.
“I am deeply appreciative of all Laura gave to our organization over the past five years. She is a brilliant coach, but more importantly, she is a tremendous individual – there is nobody I would have rather worked with to build the club,” Reign FC owner Bill Predmore said in the team’s official release. “Laura’s impact will be felt long after she departs, as she helped establish the enduring values that define what it means to be a part of our organization. Teresa and I will be her lifelong friends and fans, as well as her biggest advocates as she pursues her next opportunity.”
As for what’s next for Harvey, there’s no official word yet. In the release, she said, “I’m going to take a little bit of time to reflect and decide what the best next move is for me. I hope that an opportunity comes my way and I will decide if it is the right one. It’s been a tough decision to make but I feel like it’s the right one for me and for the club.” But Richard Farley of FourFourTwo USA reports that Harvey is in line to take an expanded role with U.S. Soccer.
Until Tuesday, both head coaches had been with their respective clubs since the first season of the National Women’s Soccer League.
Under Laura Harvey’s guidance, the Reign went from their dismal start in 2013 to back-to-back NWSL Shield-winning seasons in 2014 and 2015. In 2014, the Reign finished with 16 wins (a record only matched this year by the North Carolina Courage), including the NWSL’s longest unbeaten streak at 16 games. And if it weren’t for Vlatko Andonovski’s FC Kansas City side, they may have added some stars above their crest. Andonovski led FCKC to three playoff appearances and back-to-back championships in 2014 and 2015.
“We thank Vlatko for all he has done for this club and we wish him the best of luck in the future,” said FC Kansas City owner Elam Baer in the team’s official confirmation that Andonovski would not return next season.
As of Tuesday, there’s no additional word from FC Kansas City about their search for a new head coach.
Andonovski passed his thanks along to his players, front office, and the fans of FC Kansas City via The Blue Testament. “Without going into any details on the circumstances,” he wrote,“I just want to say that it will not be easy without the FCKC logo and the 2 stars on my shirt, but I will always be one of their biggest fans.”
As for the two coaches, it was nothing but mutual admiration between Harvey and Andonovski in their quotes provided to the Reign.
“For me, Vlatko was the perfect choice to build on what I’ve worked so hard to create in Seattle,” Harvey said. “I have a massive amount of respect for all he accomplished in KC, know that he will work well with Bill and the technical staff, and believe he can get the most out of our squad. I wish him the best of luck with the team and will do all I can to support him as he takes on this challenge.”
“Laura [Harvey] is one of the best coaches in the game,” Andonovski said. “I’ve always admired her and the job she’s done in Seattle. She’s someone that had a hand in changing the landscape of women’s soccer in this country. Having her endorsement in this is an honor to me. I hope I can continue her work and the unique culture she created.”