Kate Markgraf hired as first general manager of USWNT

Former United States defender Kate Markgraf is the first general manager of the U.S. women’s national team. Yahoo! Sports first reported the news on Monday after The Washington Post indicated two weeks ago, corroborated by The Equalizer, that Markgraf was the front-runner.

Markgraf will be announced as the general manager on Monday, and her first task will be to find a new coach for the team. U.S. head coach Jill Ellis will be stepping down upon the conclusion of the U.S.’ World Cup victory tour. Ellis won two World Cups in her five years in charge.

Markgraf appeared for the U.S. 201 times, scoring once and winning the 1999 World Cup as a starting defender. She retired in 2010 and has been a broadcaster since, working in various capacities for ESPN, Fox and NBC covering men’s and women’s soccer. Markgraf most recently covered the 2019 World Cup for ESPN.

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She was part of the August 3 ESPN broadcast of the U.S.’ first victory-tour game, against Ireland — a game which came after initial reports emerged linking her to the general manager job. Asked about the reports by colleague Sebastian Salazar, Markgraf said: “Who wouldn’t be interested in that position?” Earlier that week, Markgraf appeared on ESPN FC and named potential replacements for Ellis. Markgraf named Laura Harvey, Paul Riley, Vlatko Andonovski and Mark Krikorian as coaches to watch.

The hiring process for the women’s national team general manager role took over a year. U.S. Soccer initially thought it would name a hire in early 2019, but that was delayed in large part due to the awkward timing it would present, with the World Cup looming.

Markgraf will have significant say in who the next head coach is, and that person will need to fall in line with her overall vision for the program’s style of play, which is listed as one of the GM’s primary tasks.

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