Tom Sermanni has been fired as coach of the United States women’s national team, U.S. Soccer announced on Sunday.
U.S. Soccer Director of Development Jill Ellis will serve as interim head coach, starting Thursday when the U.S. hosts China in San Diego.
“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,” Sermanni said in a statement. UPDATE: Sermanni went on to tell media late Sunday that he was “completely blindsided” by the firing.
Sermanni guided the U.S. to a 13-0-3 record in 2013 and finishes his tenure with an 18-2-4 record as U.S. head coach.
“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,” U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said. “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.”
The announcement comes just hours after the U.S. defeated China 2-0 in an underwhelming match. The U.S. finished a disappointing 7th at last month’s Algarve Cup after tying Japan, losing to Sweden and then shockingly falling to Denmark before beating North Korea in the placement match.
The World Cup begins in 14 months, and qualifying takes place this October in Mexico.
The Equalizer has reached out to several sources in the women’s professional ranks and all said they were shocked by the news, particularly the timing. Julie Foudy, ESPN reporter and former World Cup and Olympic champion with the United States, tweeted that the news even surprised Sermanni:
Confirmed. Sermanni had no idea. No reaction from players yet unless I missed. #USWNT
— Julie Foudy (@JulieFoudy) April 7, 2014
Steve Goff of the Washington Post cites an anonymous source as saying there was a concern regarding a lack of vision for or player development of players.
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