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Gulati: Decision on US women’s coach by mid-May

Sunil Gulati hopes to have a new U.S. women's coach by mid-May.

U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati says the federation has “three or four” candidates for the vacant women’s national team coaching position and he hopes a decision will be made by mid-May.

“I’m pretty sure we’ll be done by the middle of May,” Gulati told NBCSN during halftime of Saturday’s Chicago Fire-New England Revolution game. “In the next week or so we’ll reach out to three or four candidates that are on the very short list, talk to them in the next two weeks, and hopefully by mid-May have a decision on which way we are going on this.”

Gulati notes that the timeline is tight — clearly, with the World Cup 14 months away — and that they U.S. women need a coach who is a strong leader.

Here’s the full interview:

On Saturday, after scoring her first professional club team goal, U.S. captain and defender Christie Rampone spoke publicly for the first time regarding Tom Sermanni’s firing. Rampone said she found out the news with the rest of the team, but had to leave the following morning to go to the doctor’s for a second opinion on her left toe seismioditis.

Rampone says the team is anxiously awaiting the naming of the new U.S. coach — and concedes that, at 38 years old, she has to be called up first.

“His philosophy was very different,” Rampone said. “However, it was just going to take time, and I don’t know if we had that much time. I loved Tom as a coach. I played for him (for the New York Power in 2003). I had a very good relationship with him over the last 10 years, so my heart definitely hurt seeing him leave. But it’s the World Cup. We need to be heading in the right direction and playing the best soccer that we can, so hopefully the next coach that comes in will get us right on target and get us ready to go.”

Abby Wambach said that the U.S. players were not behind Sermanni’s firing on April 6. Midfielder Carli Lloyd said she was as “shocked as much as everyone else was” by the news, and Heather O’Reilly echoed some of those statements a few days later.

Gulati’s public narrowing of the candidates confirms the obvious — the new coach will be somebody with ties to or great knowledge of the U.S. team. If the four in question are not Jill Ellis, Tony Gustavsson, Paul Riley and Randy Waldrum, it would be a shock.

Riley, two games into his tenure as Portland Thorns FC coach, hasn’t exactly dismissed his interest in the job, but told on Friday that he thinks U.S. Soccer will “go a different route” anyway.

U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo publicly backed Ellis — current interim coach — for the job, and forward Alex Morgan also noticeably brought up Gustavsson’s name on air.


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