Now we know. Tom Sermanni, who led Australia’s Matildas to the quarterfinals at the last two Women’s World Cups, has been chosen as the new coach of the U.S. women’s soccer team. And he’s got big shoes to fill.
Sermanni takes over for Sundhage, who stepped down Sept. 1 after leading the U.S. women to back-to-back Olympic gold medals and their first World Cup final in 12 years. Sundhage finished with a 91-6-10 record in five years, including 23-1-1 this year.
U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati says Sermanni has “the knowledge, experience and vision to take on the challenge of keeping our team at the top of the world.” He was chosen by a search committee that considered more than 30 candidates.
By all accounts, Sermanni is a great coach and a great guy. Players and fans took to Twitter to congratulate him on the appointment and welcome him into the U.S. soccer family, making him a trending topic Tuesday morning.
The decision to leave the team that he had coached for the past eight years was not an easy one for Sermanni to make, but when the opportunity to coach the number one ranked team in Women’s Football came up, it was a challenge that he wanted to accept.
“From a personal perspective, this was definitely not an easy decision to make and, in the end, it became quite an emotional one for me,” said Sermanni.
Sermanni takes over Jan. 1. Interim coach Jill Ellis will coach the Americans in exhibitions against Ireland on Nov. 28 in Portland, Ore., and on Dec. 1 in Glendale, Ariz., as well as three games that have yet to be announced.
During his time in charge of Australia, Sermanni helped bring the team into the top 10 in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings. Named the 2007 Asian Football Confederation Coach of the Year, Sermanni led Australia to a runner-up finish at the 2006 AFC Women’s Cup, where the team fell to China in penalty kicks, and to the championship in 2010, when the youthful Matildas downed Korea DPR in penalties.
Sermanni coached all three seasons of the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA), serving as an assistant for the San Jose CyberRays during the inaugural season, in which he helped the club to the league championship. He was also an assistant for the CyberRays in 2002 before taking the head coaching job of the New York Power in 2003, where he coached Christie Rampone, Shannon Boxx and Tiffeny Milbrett.
Sermanni, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, played as a midfielder from 1971 through 1989.
Sermanni follows Mike Ryan (1985), Anson Dorrance (1986-1994), Tony DiCicco (1994-1999), April Heinrichs (2000-2004), Greg Ryan (2005-2007) and Pia Sundhage (2008-2011) as U.S. women’s team coaches. The U.S. women have been ranked No. 1 in the world since winning the 2008 Olympic gold medal in Beijing, China.
Good luck Coach.
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