Posted on August 10, 2012
By Michael Lewis
LONDON — As she likes to say about her own players, U.S. national women’s coach Pia Sundhage is in a good place.
For the second time in four years she has directed the Americans to the Olympic gold medal. Sandwiched between that was a second=place finish at last year’s Women’s World Cup, a decision that was decided by soccer’s own lottery, the penalty-kick shooutout.
Now, her native Sweden beckons. And, there is a twitter campaign to get Sundhage to return to Sweden and coach the national side.
“I’ll tell you this, to be coach of the women’s national team in the states is the best job in the world,” she said after the U.S. registered a 2-1 win over Japan to win the gold medal at Wembley Stadium. “It is a dream.
“It’s all about timing. I promised myself to enjoy the moment.”
Swedish coach Thomas Dennerby will step down after the Olympics.
Asked if she could consider leaving her U.S. coaching position, Sundhage replied, “That’s hard. This team has made me successful, they have made me look good and I am grateful for it.”
Sundhage’s four-year contract with U.S. Soccer expires at the end of November.
U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said he and CEO/secretary general Dan Flynn will review Sundhage’s tenure with the team, as they do with every other national team position.
Beyond her success, Sundhage is liked by the players, professionally and personally.
She took over the coaching reins in 2007, after Greg Ryan’s team finished third at that year’s wWC in China. Ryan made a controversial decision to replace regular goalkeeper Hope Solo with veteran Briana Scurry against Brazil in the semifinals and the South Americans rolled to a 4-0 triumph.
Sundhage mended some fences, particularly Solo’s relationship with the rest of the team after her post-game outburst to the media about being benched, and added fresh faces and legs to a team and has kept the Americans at the top of the world. The U.S. is ranked No. 1 in the FIFA rankings.
Photo: Pia Sundhage: “To be coach of the women’s national team in the states is the best job in the world.” YCJ
Categories: North America, Olympic Qualifying, U.S.A., Women
Tags: 2012 London Olympics, Briana Scurry, Dan Flynn, FIFA, Greg Ryan, Hope Solo, Pia Sundhage, Sunil Gulati, U.S. Soccer