tom sermanni

Sermanni steps in: how will the USWNT change?

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Pia Sundhage’s Sept. 1 announcement that she was stepping down from her post as the U.S. women’s soccer head coach to take over in Sweden was a blow to the world’s No. 1 team.

Sundhage had just led the U.S. to its third-straight Olympic gold in London (second under her guidance) and the team’s chemistry was peaking. How could the most endeared women’s soccer coach in all the land be replaced? Enter the ‘stache.

U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday that Tom Sermanni will replace Sundhage effective Jan. 1, 2013. Sermanni previously coached Australia to the last two World Cups and the jovial Scotsman is about as close as you’ll get to matching Sundhage’s chipper personality – he just doesn’t play the guitar.

But seriously, Sermanni’s management plan, in a word, is about balance. U.S. women’s soccer fans have largely campaigned for a mass overhaul of the current team in favor of younger players, a sentiment that falls somewhere between never satisfied and just plain foolish.

Don’t worry, Sermanni won’t be handing out pink slips to the older veteran players any time soon. He realizes how young players deserve opportunities (he regularly developed teenage players with Australia), but also knows he has walked into an already winning formula.

“I think there’s misconception about the [U.S.] team,” Sermanni said Wednesday in some of his first words as U.S. coach. “Teams get pigeonholed often and it’s a false perception of what they’re about. The U.S. team gets pigeonholed as a strong, physical team. This U.S. team is actually a good footballing team and they’ve got some very talented and gifted players in there.”

So players like 37-year-old captain Christie Rampone and 35-year-old midfielder Shannon Boxx can breathe a little easier (Sermanni specifically praised those two players) knowing that they are part of Sermanni’s plans.

So U.S. women’s soccer fans will just have to keep freaking out about there not being enough ‘change’ for their liking. The rest of us are looking forward to what’s next. Fear the ‘stache.

Jeff Kassouf covered women’s soccer during the Olympics and is an online producer for NBCSports.com. He’s also devilishly handsome. Follow him on Twitter here.

Tom Sermanni named U.S. Women’s soccer coach

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After three straight gold medals and a couple World Cup titles we’re almost certain the U.S. Women’s team could operate independent of any oversight so long as Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan are around, but just to be safe Tom Sermanni was brought in as the new head coach of the team on Tuesday, effective January 1, 2013.

“[Sermanni] has the knowledge, experience and vision to take on the challenge of keeping our team at the top of the world,” U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said in a release. “He has a tremendous passion for the game, knows the American players, understands our system and knows the process of preparing a team for a World Cup tournament.”

Sermanni comes to the U.S. after two stints with Australia totaling eleven years, and enters as the seventh head coach of the team since 1985. He takes over for Pia Sundhage, who is returning to her native Sweden after four successful years with Team USA. Jill Ellis has been coaching in the interim since the Olympics.

A native of Scotland, Sermanni played more than 300 professional matches before landing coaching gigs in Canberra, San Jose, and New York. He led the Matildas to the 1995 World Cup and a top-10 FIFA ranking during his tenure. After finishing out his obligations down under Sermanni will observe the team’s last three U.S. games of 2012 (yet to be announced), and then take over when the new year rolls around.