Hours after the U.S. women's national team defeated China 2-0 in a friendly in Colorado on Sunday, head coach Tom Sermanni was let go from his post in a shocking turn of events that creates an air of uncertainty around the women's program in an important year.
Sermanni, the former Australia manager hired Oct. 30, 2012 to replace Pia Sundhage, was ousted before he could guide the U.S. women in a major competition. Jill Ellis will serve as interim coach, and she'll be on the sideline April 10 when the U.S. plays China again, this time in San Diego. She was the interim manager after Sundhage left to manage her native Sweden and before Sermanni officially took the helm at the start of 2013, guiding the team to a 5-0-2 record in a caretaker role.
"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 in a statement released late Sunday night. "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."
Under Sermanni the U.S. women fared well in a friendly-heavy schedule, save for a disappointing 7th-place showing in last month's Algarve Cup.
He had experimented with bringing in younger players and trying new formations, but with no major competition like World Cup qualifying, a World Cup or Olympics on which to judge him, his methods could have been perceived as a coach thoroughly examining his player pool to find his best options for when it mattered. Sermanni ultimately won't get to see that plan through.
"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.
CONCACAF qualifying for the 2015 Women's World Cup takes place in Mexico in October.