By Adam Kolb / Co-Sports Editor
The name Vlatko Andonovski may not seem familiar to many sports fans, but it’s definitely a familiar name for Hutchinson Community College women’s soccer coach Sammy Lane.
Vlatko Andonovski and Lane knew each other back when they were both starting their professional soccer careers with the Wichita Wings, an indoor soccer team. Vlatko also knows HutchCC assistant Jim Ross from coaching club ball in Kansas City.
“It’s pretty cool, because I drove him to practice,” Lane said.
Not only did Lane drive Andonovski to practice, but he also helped teach Andonovski English as well.
Andonovski was born in North Macedonia and was the coach for Reign FC in the National Women’s Soccer League. He previously coached FC Kansas City in the NWSL and the Kansas City Comets in the Major Arena Soccer League.
Now, Andonovski will become the new head coach for the United States women’s national soccer team, arguably the best women’s soccer team in the world and current World Cup champion.
It’s an amazing story that Andonovski, a person from North Macedonia, can make it big in American soccer and become the head coach for the World Cup champions.
“He’s everything that’s great about this country,” Lane said. “It’s everything that’s cool about sports.”
Andonovski started a new era of U.S. women’s soccer on Monday and has already gotten praise from the stars of the team, like Morgan Brian and Megan Rapinoe.
Some of these players he has coached before, so there’s a sense of familiarity there.
“He’s a great tactical mind, and a soccer genius, is what I’ve heard,” said U.S. midfielder Morgan Brian in an article on espn.com. “So I think it would be a great fit.”
While this is a great accomplishment for Andonovski, Lane couldn’t help but be a little surprised.
“I think even he was surprised,” Lane said with a smile. “I’m happy for him, and happy to be connected with him.”