WASHINGTON, April 7, 2014 — In a surprise move, U.S. women’s national team coach Tom Sermanni was fired on Sunday night. The dismissal came just hours after he led the team to a 2-0 win over China in Commerce City, Colo. He had been on the job 15 months.
Sermanni (18-2-4) took over the reins of the team in January 2013 and had gone 20 games without a loss, until two surprise defeats at the Algarve Cup last month in Portugal. The team was 13-0-0 under Sermanni last year.
“We want to thank Tom for his service over the past year and half, but we felt that we needed to go in a different direction at this time,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati in a statement. “We will begin looking for a new coach immediately to guide our Women’s National Team toward qualifying for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.”
“It’s a somber day for us all today,” said goalie Hope Solo on her Twitter account. “Tom is simply a classy man in every way, and he will certainly be missed.”
Sermanni’s fate was probably sealed at the Algarve Cup where the U.S. team won just one game in four matches, losing 1-0 to Sweden, coached by the U.S. team’s former coach Pia Sundhage, and then falling to Denmark 5-3.
“I’m disappointed that things didn’t work out, but I’d like to thank U.S. Soccer for the opportunity to have coached this team and also the staff and players for all their hard work,” said Sermanni, who took on the U.S. job after spent eight years coaching Australia’s women’s team.
Sermanni believed he was in for the long haul and was experimenting with his lineups before World Cup qualifying begins in October for the 2015 World Cup in Canada.
On SI Now today, writer Grant Wahl said Paul Riley, the coach of Portland Thorns, was a likely candidate for the job.
Jill Ellis, the US Soccer Federation development director, will serve as interim head coach and prepare the team for Thursday’s game against China in San Diego
John Haydon wrote a weekly soccer column for The Washington Times for 20 years. He has covered two World Cups and written about Major League Soccer from the league’s inception in 1996.
Follow John on Twitter at @Johnahaydon or email [email protected]