Long-serving Australia coach Tom Sermanni is to take the reins of Olympic champions USA, replacing the recently departed Pia Sundhage.
Sermanni, one of the world’s most experienced coaches with three FIFA Women’s World Cups™ on his resume, will become just the seventh USA head coach when he steps into the breach on 1 January 2013. In the interim, Sermanni will remain in charge of the Matildas for next month’s EAFF East Asian Cup qualification tournament, which will be held in Shenzen, China PR.
Scotland-born Sermanni has experience of women’s football at the top level dating back to 1994, when he led Australia to the 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup. He has since helped the Matildas to breakthrough success with consecutive quarter-final appearances at the past two FIFA Women’s World Cups.
Named the Asian Football Confederation’s Women’s Coach of the Year in 2007, Sermanni also led Australia to the 2010 Asian title, and the Matildas remain the country's only team to win a continental crown since its move to the AFC in 2006.
Sermanni has previous experience coaching Stateside, featuring in all three seasons of the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA). He served 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 coach's job of the New York Power in 2003, where he coached current squad members Christie Rampone and Shannon Boxx.
The timing of this challenge to coach the number one women’s football team in the world was at the right time for me 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.
“In football, and in life, it’s all about timing, and with Australian women’s football quite settled at the moment with the national teams and the W-League, the timing of this challenge to coach the number one women’s football team in the world was at the right time for me to accept.
“There is plenty of great talent coming through the Australian women’s football system and in the coming years I am confident that Australia will be a world force. But eight years is a long time for any coach to be in a position and now seems to be a good time to bring in some new ideas and energy into the Matildas set-up.
“I have many fond memories of my time with the Matildas and having spent the majority of the past 30 years in Australia, they will not be too far away from my thoughts.”
U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati says Sermanni is the right choice as USA, who have been at the top of the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking since 2008, seek to build upon their record of two world championships and four Olympic gold medals.
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.
“After an extensive search and interview process, we believe Tom Sermanni is the right person at the right time to lead our women’s national team,” said Gulati.
“He has the knowledge, experience and vision to take on the challenge of keeping our team at the top of the world. 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.
“We’re tremendously excited to have him on board as we look forward to qualification for the 2015 Women’s World Cup.”
US Soccer's Women’s Development Director Jill Ellis, who was on the bench for the USA’s two recent draws with Germany, will coach the team for the last five matches of the upcoming Fan Tribute Tour.
Sundhage, a nominee for the FIFA Women’s World Coach of the Year 2012, recently returned to her native Sweden to coach the national side as they prepare to host next year’s UEFA Women’s EURO.