U.S. Soccer settled on a replacement for Pia Sundhage as coach of its women’s team Tuesday, naming veteran Australian national team coach Tom Sermanni to fill the vacancy beginning Jan. 1.
Sundhage, who won two Olympic titles and a World Cup silver medal in her five years with the U.S. program, resigned last summer to return to her native Sweden where she will coach that country’s national team.
Sermanni, 58, led Australia to three World Cups in his 11 years as coach and guided the team into the top 10 in FIFA’s world rankings. A native of Glasgow, Sermanni was a midfielder who played more than 300 matches in a 14-year playing career that included stops in England, Australia in New Zealand.
He then coached men’s and women’s professional teams in Japan and Malaysia as well as in the U.S., where he was an assistant with San Jose and head coach of the New York Power of the now-defunct Women’s United Soccer Assn.
In New York, Sermanni coached U.S. national team captain Christine Rampone, among others.
“He has a tremendous passion for the game, knows the American players, understands our system and knows the process of preparing a team for a World Cup tournament,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, who led the two-month search for Sundhage’s replacement.
“I’m honored to have this opportunity to work with tremendous players and in a program that has had such a tradition of success,” Sermanni, 58, said in a statement. “U.S. Soccer has always been at the forefront of supporting the women’s game and it’s exciting to coach the team in this next chapter of its history.”
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