Wednesday, November 14, 2007

USSoccer Hires Pia Sundhage

USSoccer's search committee made short work of the search for a new coach for the USWNT, hiring Pia Sundhage yesterday. (BTW, her name is pronounced Soond-hahg-Eh.)

This is a good hire for so many reasons:

1. A woman should be coach of the national team. (I meant to link to this Christine Brennan column earlier. Yes, Christine, a woman should be the coach. You are late to the party, but correct.)

2. She has international experience as a player (Sweden's all-time-leading goal scorer, 6th in the 2000 voting for FIFA player of the century).

3. She has international experience as a coach (WUSA, Swedish league, China)

4. She wants the USWNT to play a possession style of football.

5. She has coached Kristine Lilly in the past (Boston Breakers) so will have that advantage in dealing with the change in strategy, Lilly's place on the team, and the reconciliation of Hope Solo.

6. I am cautiously optimistic that she will reunite Hope Solo with the team. She said in the press call announcing her appointment that Solo would remain with the team and that she is a good goalkeeper. Not exactly ringing endorsements, but given the strong positions taken on all sides it will be difficult to repair.

The woman was so popular in Sweden that they put her face on a postage stamp. Let's hope she leads the US to another gold medal at the Olympics next year.

NYTimes: New Coach for Women’s U.S. Soccer Team

USAToady: U.S. Soccer hires new women's team coach

ESPN: Sundhage to reshape U.S. team's offensive style

SoccerAmerica: Swede takes charge of U.S. women's coach [sic]

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