Pia Sundhage, a Swede who guided the US women's football team to Olympic gold in Beijing earlier this year, will remain coach of the Americans through the 2012 Olympics, the US Soccer Federation announced Monday. Sundhage was hired to replace former boss Greg Ryan in November of last year after a disappointing third-place finish at the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup in China.
So far Sundhage has guided the Americans to a record of 32 wins and only one loss with two draws, including a gold-medal victory over Brazil in the Olympic final. The US women suffered their only loss of 2008 in their Olympic opener but rallied for gold.
"Pia has demonstrated the qualities of a great leader, a great soccer tactician and she is a winner," US Soccer president Sunil Gulati said. "We are extremely happy to have her on board for the next cycle of the Women's World Cup and the Olympics."
Sundhage, 48, scored 71 goals in 146 caps for Sweden in a 22-year international career that began in 1975 at age 15 but the US job was her first as a national team coach. "We've done so many things in a short amount of time and been successful so far," Sundhage said. "The reason it is so exciting to continue with this team is that I can see the potential.
"We've done a pretty good job so far, but these next steps will be about going into the attacking third and being even more unpredictable, playing more beautiful soccer and scoring more goals. With this team spirit, the American culture, and the American way, we can make that happen in the coming years."