The United States Soccer Federation has named the new coach of the women’s national team and he is a well-known figure in the world of women’s soccer- Tom Sermanni.
The Glasgow-born Sermanni played professionally as a midfielder for over a decade primarily in Scotland and England, spending the bulk of his career with Albion Rovers and Torquay. As a coach he has an extensive resume which includes clubs in both Australia and the U.S. as well as two stints as the head coach of the Matildas- the Australian Women’s National Team- the most recent of which lasted from 2004 until 2012. During his time with Australia he led them to the World Cup finals three times, most recently to the quarterfinals last year. Sermanni’s sides were also AFC runners-up in 2006 and champions in 2010.
Perhaps the most important thing that Sermanni has going for him is that he is an over-achiever. Australia’s most recent FIFA ranking was 9th (ahead of traditional powers like Norway, North Korea, and China), which is truly impressive for a team whose last roster contained five teenagers and with a player pool from a country where women’s soccer still lags behind swimming, cricket, tennis, cycling, field hockey, and Australia’s most popular (in terms of participation and spectators) female sport- netball. Given the talent he will have on hand as the new U.S. coach I think it is reasonable to expect that he will be at least as successful as his predecessors even as the women’s game becomes more and more competitive.
Finally, if I may indulge both my historical and nationalistic proclivities, Sermanni is another in the long line of successful Italo-Scottish athletes. This is a group that includes such luminaries as Simon Danielli (rugby), Paul di Giacomo (former Ross County player), Ricky Sbragia (York City player, Sunderland manager, current Scotland U19 coach), Dario Franchitti (CART/NASCAR), Lou Macari (Manchester United and Scotland), Dominic Matteo (Leeds, Liverpool and Scotland), and Paul di Resta (F1).
Good luck, Tom!