By Todd Kortemeier | Aug. 12, 2019, 4:08 p.m. (ET)

Kate Markgraf poses for a portrait during the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Media Summit on April 14, 2008 in Chicago.

 

Who better to be the first-ever women’s national soccer team general manager than one of the women who helped the program become the powerhouse it is today?

U.S. Soccer named former center back Kate Markgraf to the new general manager post Monday, hiring one of its most decorated players in a two-time Olympic gold medalist and one who was on the field for perhaps the program’s greatest moment at the 1999 Women’s World Cup final. Markgraf — née Sobrero — made 201 appearances in defense for Team USA from 1998 to 2010.

Also announced was the elevation of men’s national team GM and three-time World Cup player Earnie Stewart to U.S. Soccer sporting director.

Markgraf’s new role will include overseeing the women’s national team’s talent acquisition and player development concerns, but right off the bat she’ll have a vital decision to make in who will be the team’s new head coach. Jill Ellis will be stepping down in October following the team’s World Cup victory tour. Markgraf’s new hire will be tasked with leading the team to Olympic qualification and then at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

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In her current role as a broadcaster, Markgraf has speculated recently on some of the candidates for a new head coach, mentioning current National Women’s Soccer League coaches Vlatko Andonovski, Laura Harvey and Paul Riley, plus Florida State women’s coach Mark Krikorian.

Besides her work in television, Markgraf, 42, has also been a coach since her playing career ended, serving as an assistant at Marquette in addition to coaching youth club soccer.

The general manager position is new for both the women’s national team as well as the men, with former national team player Stewart earning that job in June 2018. In his new position of sporting director, Stewart will oversee the men’s, women’s and youth structures to enhance efficiency and communications between all levels of development.

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.