The U.S. Women’s National Team didn’t have the showing it hoped for at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, suffering its earliest exit ever with a loss in the round of 16. Changes at the top were almost guaranteed.
With the resignation of head coach Vlatko Andonovski, a leader was needed during the transition. Enter Arizona soccer alumna Twila Kilgore (nee Kaufman), who was named the interim head coach on Thursday.
Kilgore has been a trailblazer her entire career. She became a Wildcat just four years after the program started, earning the team’s Rookie of the Year award as a freshman in 1998. By the time she left Arizona with her degree in secondary education, she was the career leader in games played with 74. She started 72 of those games, which is still tied for sixth in program history.
As a coach, Kilgore has excelled at every level, coaching U.S. youth national teams, college teams, club teams, and NWSL teams as both a head coach and an assistant. She was the third woman and the first woman born in the U.S. to earn U.S. Soccer’s Pro Coaching License. She was named an assistant for the USWNT in February of 2022.
Kilgore got her start in coaching as a graduate assistant at Northern Arizona. She landed at Pepperdine, where she coached for 10 years, rising to the position of associate head coach. She then moved on to her first head coaching gig at UC Davis, where she served for five years. Her next stop was as an assistant coach for the NWSL’s Houston Dash. During her rise up the ranks, she also worked at various levels with the U.S. national program.
Kilgore will lead the USWNT as U.S. Soccer searches for a permanent replacement for Andonovski.