The Laura Harvey Era of the Seattle Reign FC is over.
It feels weird to write that, but that is new reality for the Seattle Reign FC as the club heads into its sixth season, under the helm of new head coach, Vlatko Andonovski.
Reign fans know he was the head coach who guided FC Kansas City to back-to-back NWSL Championships in 2014 and 2015, both at the expense of Reign FC.
It isn’t just lip service when people draw parallels between Andonovski and Harvey in terms of their pedigree from a wins, losses, draws standpoint and their reputations as player’s coaches. Both know how to manage squads composed of world-class, international talent and rookies hungry to make their mark and show they can ball.
As part of Tuesday’s news of Harvey’s departure and Andovoski’s arrival, the new Seattle Reign FC head coach shared his thoughts (provided by the club) on his new appointment.
“I wasn’t initially sure if now was the right time or not, but after meeting with Bill I felt this was different and something I wanted to be a part of. We have a very similar mindset, and our strengths complement each other. I think it will be a great partnership to take this organization to the next level.”
The meeting with Reign FC owner Bill Predmore perhaps would not have happened if Harvey did not endorse Andonovski. Harvey said he was the only person in her opinion that could be her successor, and Andonovski’s respect is mutual.
“Laura is one of the best coaches in the game I’ve ever been around. 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 is an honor to me. I hope I can continue her work and the culture she created.”
As far as what the coaches have done in the short history of the NWSL, the parallels are undeniable, and with both clubs coming off 2017 campaigns where they missed the NWSL Playoffs for a second consecutive season, their respective careers reached critical crossroads. For Andonovski, Seattle presents a new challenge that he is eager to take on, especially given who he will coach for instead of against.
“The roster that Seattle Reign FC have is full of players with different personalities and abilities. I feel very happy having players like Jessica Fishlock and Megan Rapinoe on my side instead of playing against them. I’ve spent hours analyzing their game and movements so I can try to contain them, but now having them on my team is going to make my job easier and my life easier.”
Andonovksi is ready to make his mark and push Seattle toward a championship.
“As a coach, it would be almost silly to say the goal is anything but winning a championship. The biggest challenge will obviously be those teams we are playing against. This league has grown so much and the quality of the players and the teams has taken everything to a completely different level from day one. Competing against the top teams isn’t going to be easy, but that’s the beauty of this game and the greatest challenge in the way of lifting up the trophy.”
Any Reign FC fan would tell you that the ideal scenario for Laura Harvey eventually calling it a day as the Reign FC boss would have been a storybook ending of her lifting the NWSL Championship and riding off into the sunset, but unfortunately we did not get that scenario. However, as she moves on to new opportunities, the future of the Seattle Reign FC could not be left in better hands than Vlatko Andonovski’s.
With an off-season of players to re-sign, trades and new signings, and a college draft, Andonovski will surely be busy as the club prepares for the 2018 season, which is just around the corner.
In Harvey We Trust will always be a mantra imprinted into the DNA of the club, but it will now be blended with Andonovski’s vision as he paves a new road, a new era for Seattle Reign FC.