The U.S. women’s soccer team faces several questions over these next few months. The future of a professional league is a major topic, but so too is the topic of who will be in charge of the U.S. moving forward.
Recent reports out of Sweden (link in Swedish) have made it clear that the Swedish FA is very interested in current U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage, a former Swedish international, but Sundhage says her focus right now is on the U.S..
Thomas Dennerby recently decided to step down as coach of Sweden, ending an eight year reign at the helm. That leaves a vacant head coaching position for Sweden, which also hosts the Women’s European Championships in 2013. Sundhage’s contract with the U.S. ends on Nov. 30 and November will mark her fifth year in charge of the team. She has secured two Olympic gold medals and a silver medal at the 2011 World Cup.
Like most of the English speaking readers on this site, my Swedish is bad. The majority of reports out of Sweden talk about the FA’s interest in Sundhage, so below is what Sundhage herself had to say about the situation. Her focus right now is on the U.S., the Fan Tribute Tour and talking to U.S. Soccer first.
But there is an appeal to that vacant Sweden position, including the fact that she has not spent significant time at home since taking the U.S. job. And don’t forget that Sundhage is a Swedish legend, having scored 71 goals in 146 appearances for her country.
Sundhage said she has not been contacted by anyone from Sweden.
Here is what the ever-honest, ever-cheerful and very successful U.S. head coach had to say on Friday before the team’s friendly against Costa Rica in Rochester, N.Y. —
On what is in her future:
“First of all I have a contract that ends Nov. 30. As you probably know, the coach for Sweden, he stepped down and they are looking for a new coach. Right now I am just concentrating on this [U.S. tour] and of course I am – U.S. Soccer has been great because they’ve been leaving me alone pretty much going up to the Olympics. So now we’ll sit and see if there will be another four years or whether I go back home. I have to admit that I have been away from my home for five years. This team has made me look – being successful has been fantastic. So regardless of if I leave – that will be really hard – or if I stay another four years, I really need to put in 100 percent, because that’s what they deserve, this team. I’ve not given it a lot of thought, just wait and see.”
On the appeal of coaching at home:
“The fact that Sweden is hosting the European Championship, that’s a big thing of course. But then it is just rumor, it is just guessing, so I want to do the right thing with U.S. Soccer and start with talking to them and see if I can give another four years. That’s the key, because this team, they deserve somebody that is committed 110 percent. We’ve done a great job for five years to play in three finals. That’s what it takes because they are demanding and that’s how it should be.”
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