U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati has kept good on his promise of naming a new U.S. women's national team manager by the end of October. Pia Sundhage's replacement will be former Australian national team manager Tom Sermanni, who will take over the job, effective on January 1.
Sermanni has managed the Australian women's national team continuously since 2004, and had a previous spell as their manager from 1994-1997. He worked in the United States from 2001-2003, first as an assistant coach in WUSA, then as the head coach of the WUSA's New York Power. When the league folded, he eventually returned to coach Australia for the second time.
The Matildas have reached the first knockout round of the last two World Cups, before running into very powerful opposition. In 2007, they were knocked out by Brazil in a 3-2 thriller. During the last World Cup, in 2011, they went down 3-1 to Sweden in the Quarterfinals. They struggled under Sermanni in the 1995 World Cup, when their program was much less developed.
ESPN's Adrian Healey dropped an interesting note on Twitter about Sermanni, who seems to be popular among players.
In Denver in Sept vs Australia, lot of #USWNT players we talked to wanted Tom Sermanni. He "won't be afraid to crack the whip" said one.— Adrian Healey (@AdrianHealey) October 30, 2012
Sermanni's teams have generally favored an up-tempo and attack-minded style of play, and they generally line up in a 4-4-2 formation. Both his preferred style of play and preferred formation should suit the U.S. women well. Between his experience, his track record, reported player preference and his personal preference for a style of play that suits the current player pool, Sermanni's hire looks like a good one on the surface.