U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati announced today the hiring of Tom Sermanni as the seventh head coach in U.S. Women’s National Team history.
Sermanni, 58, comes to U.S. Soccer with 11 years of experience as a head coach in international women’s soccer – all with Australia – a period during which he led the Matildas in three Women’s World Cup tournaments.
Sermanni will officially begin his tenure as the WNT head coach on Jan. 1, 2013. U.S. Soccer 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 Fan Tribute Tour, presented by Panasonic. Due to his prior commitments with the Australia Women’s National Team as he finishes up his responsibilities with the Matildas, Sermanni will not be attending the next two matches in Portland and Phoenix. Sermanni will be observing the U.S. Women’s National Team for the last three matches of the 2012 tour, which will be announced in the near future.
“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.”
Sermanni comes to U.S. Soccer after eight years as head coach of the Australia Women’s National Team, which he coached in both the 2007 and 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments, reaching the quarterfinal stage at both events. That eight-year period was Sermanni’s second stint with Australia, as he also coached the Matildas from 1994 through 1997, during which time he led the team to the 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Sweden.
“I’m honored to have this opportunity to work with tremendous players and in a program that has had such a tradition of success,” said Sermanni. “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. After coaching against many of these players for years, I am looking forward to working with an accomplished group of veterans while integrating the numerous talented young players who are itching for a chance to prove themselves. It will be an exciting few years for the U.S. team and for all the great fans as we work toward the highest goals at the 2015 Women’s World Cup.”
In order to thoroughly examine the possible choices, Gulati headed a search committee that included U.S. Soccer CEO/Secretary General Dan Flynn, former U.S. Women’s National Team players Mia Hamm and Danielle Slaton, and managing Director of Administration Tom King. The committee reviewed more than 30 male and female candidates both domestically and internationally.
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 U.S. Women’s National Team legends Christie Rampone, Shannon Boxx and Tiffeny Milbrett.
Sermanni, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, had a long playing career as a midfielder from 1971 through 1989, playing more than 300 professional matches and scoring more than 50 goals. He quickly transitioned into coaching both men’s and women’s professional soccer all over the world, including stints in Japan, the USA and Malaysia.
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 official coaches of the U.S. Women’s National Team, which has been ranked No. 1 in the world since winning the 2008 Olympic gold medal in Beijing, China.
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