CHICAGO (AP) — U.S. Soccer fired coach Tom Sermanni hours after he was on the sideline for a 2-0 win against China on Sunday afternoon.
Sermanni took over the women’s program in January 2013. He previously spent eight years coaching Australia’s women’s team.
He helped the U.S. to a 13-0-3 record last season, but the Americans struggled at the Algarve Cup last month. They went 1-2-1 to finish an uncharacteristic seventh.
“We want to thank Tom for his service over the past year and half, but we felt that we needed to go in a different direction at this time,” U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said in a release. “We will begin looking for a new coach immediately to guide our women’s national team toward qualifying for the 2015 FIFA women’s World Cup.”
Jill Ellis, the director of development for U.S. Soccer, will serve as the interim coach. The women’s team faces China again on Thursday in San Diego.
Ellis also had a stint as the interim coach in 2012, going 5-0-2 in seven matches.
“I’m disappointed that things didn’t work out, but I’d like to thank U.S. Soccer for the opportunity to have coached this team and also the staff and players for all their hard work,” Sermanni said in the U.S. Soccer release.
Sermanni’s dismissal was announced a few hours after Lauren Holiday and substitute Megan Rapinoe scored in the victory over China in Commerce City, Colo.
If he knew that was his last game with the team, it sure didn’t seem like it. He experimented with a 4-3-3 alignment (four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards) as part of the team’s preparation for World Cup qualifying, and talked about the team making the most of its offensive opportunities.
“I thought our movement was good, thought our passing was quite incisive,” Sermanni said after the game. “What we should’ve done better is finish the game off a lot earlier. We really need to be finishing these games off when we’re creating chances.”