Despite a win in his latest match, Tom Sermanni has been removed as head coach of the U.S. women's national soccer team.
The squad's official Twitter account announced the news:
U.S. Soccer has announced that Tom Sermanni has been relieved of his duties as head coach of the U.S. Women's National Team.— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) April 7, 2014
U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati issued a press release on the decision (via ESPN.com):
"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. 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."
Sermanni also briefly commented on his dismissal: "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."
Is this the right decision for the USWNT?
The team is coming off a 2-0 win in the first of a two-game series against China. The next match is set for April 10 in San Diego, Calif.
Unfortunately, it struggled mightily in the 2014 Algarve Cup last month in Portugal. Team USA came away with just one win and a draw in four matches, settling for lowly seventh place in the 12-team tournament.
This was rather disappointing for a powerhouse that had won eight of the past 11 titles at this event.
Despite the struggles, this was quite a surprising move for the national team. Soccer analyst Ives Galarcep noted that Sermanni was expecting to be part of the future:
Sermanni was handling #USWNT job like a coach who fully expected to be around, experimenting w/players & formations year before World Cup— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) April 7, 2014
On the other hand, Steven Goff of The Washington Post pointed out some concerns:
Sermanni offered "no direction, no vision, nothing," one source says. Players, USSF concerned about World Cup. #uswnt— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) April 7, 2014
He certainly represented a bit of a decline from Pia Sundhage, who led the team to two gold medals at the Olympics in 2008 and 2012.
Team USA is hoping to contend for a title at the 2015 World Cup in Canada. The squad has finished in the top three in each of the last three events, but it has not won since 1999.
The rapidly approaching World Cup will create even more pressure for whoever becomes the next coach of the team. With only one year to prepare, he or she will have a brief timetable to insert a new system and find the best way to win.
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