By Liviu Bird
April 19, 2014

Kent Horner/Getty Images Current interim head coach Jill Ellis is one of the possibilities for Tom Sermanni's successor as USWNT coach. (Kent Horner/Getty Images)

Tom Sermanni’s successor at the helm of the United States women’s national team should be finalized within a month, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said Saturday. Gulati spoke to NBC Sports’ John Strong at halftime of the Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution broadcast.

“I’m pretty sure we’ll be done by the middle of May,” Gulati said. “In the next week or so, we’ll reach out to three or four candidates that are on the very-short list, and talk to them in the next two weeks, and hopefully by mid-May, have a decision which way we’re going on this.”

Gulati did not mention any names on that short list in his interview on NBC, but Portland Thorns head coach Paul Riley and interim head coach Jill Ellis — who pulled out of the previous search before Sermanni was ultimately hired — are two possibilities.

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Based on Gulati’s timeline, Ellis could well take charge of the U.S. friendly in Canada on May 8.

Whoever the ultimate full-time coach is, Gulati said he or she has to be able to take charge and make his or her presence felt quickly. Qualifying for the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada kicks off in October.

As for the U.S. men’s team, which begins its pre-World Cup training camp about the same time Gulati said a new women’s coach should be named, the president said getting through the first round of the tournament in Brazil is the first priority.

“Everyone wants to get through the first round; that’s our first goal. Jürgen has said our World Cup final is that first game against Ghana,” Gulati said. “If we start well, there’s no reason we can’t get through the first round. Then, it’s a knockout competition, so get through the first round, and then we dream about more.”

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