The United States Women’s National Team program will be undergoing a restructuring in the sporting department. According to a report by The Equalizer’s Jeff Kassouf, USWNT general manager Kate Markgraf will leave the federation at the end of the month after her contract expires.
Markgraf has served as the USWNT general manager since August 2019 and was the primary person responsible for the hire of Vlatko Andonovski, who parted ways with the federation yesterday, as USWNT head coach. According to Kassouf, the decision for Markgraf to leave the federation was made before the start of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, which saw the USWNT end with their worst finish at a major tournament.
The decision for Markgraf to depart the federation is a signal that U.S. Soccer sporting director Matt Crocker is planning a restructuring of the federation’s sporting department, which could include the elimination of the general manager position. The positions were instituted with Markgraf’s hire in 2019 and the hire of Brian McBride in January 2020. Brian McBride, who officially departed the federation in January, also made his decision to leave the federation before the 2022 Men’s World Cup. However, since Crocker was hired as sporting director in May, there has been no attempt to fill the vacant USMNT general manager position. It leaves many speculating that Crocker will eliminate both positions.
Markgraf will continue to assist Crocker in the search for a new USWNT head coach until her contract expires at the end of the month. It’s now an important time for Crocker to make his second senior national team coaching hire, as the USWNT start preparing for next summer’s Olympics.
BREAKING: #USWNT general manager Kate Markgraf will not renew her her expiring contract, multiple sources tell EQZ's @JeffKassouf.— The Equalizer (@EqualizerSoccer) August 18, 2023
Markgraf made the decision prior to the World Cup, according to multiple sources.
➡️: https://t.co/NFFFmG0PmC pic.twitter.com/cdM1YxFau8
Update: U.S. Soccer has officially announced Kate Markgraf’s departure, saying that Markgraf has “decided not to continue as the U.S. Women’s National Team General Manager with U.S. Soccer.” The federation confirms that Markgraf will stay on through the end of the month to help with the transition.
“Kate has been an instrumental part of Women’s National Team both on and off the field for many years, and we’re very thankful for the tireless work she has given to the USWNT and all our Youth National Teams,” Matt Crocker said in a statement. “We wish her all the best in her future endeavors and look forward to building on the foundation she helped establish over the past several years.”
“It has been an incredible honor to work with the players, coaches and staff at U.S. Soccer on the mission of keeping our program at the top of the women’s game,” said Markgraf in a statement. “I am proud of the foundation we have built, and even more proud of the character and commitment demonstrated by our players as they represent the United States on and off the field. I look forward to supporting all of our programs and have every confidence that we will maintain our standards of excellence moving forward.”
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