Sunday, directly after the first friendly with China PR, a 2-0 win for the USA, and four days before the second, U.S. Soccer unexpectedly fired U.S. Women's National Team head coach Tom Sermanni, effective immediately.
Disputes with national team stars are reported to be the cause of the parting.
U.S. Soccer Director of Development Jill Ellis will serve as interim head coach, starting with the USA's next match against China PR on April 10 in San Diego. Ellis previously served as interim head coach for seven matches at the end of 2012, going 5-0-2.
In 26 games under Scottish Sermanni, the USA went 18-2-4 in 26 games under Sermanni, but broke a 43-game unbeaten streak with the first two losses in a row since 2001 at the Algarve Cup, where the team finished seventh, its worst finish ever.
“To put it in a nutshell, [U.S. Soccer] just felt that the way I was managing the team wasn’t working,” Sermanni told Sports Illustrated. “It could be the U.S. team is a unique team that has certain demands that perhaps my management style or my philosophy didn’t quite gel with.”
Former Australian national team coach Sermanni had replaced beloved coach Pia Sundhage on Jan. 1, 2013. in Sundhage's five-year tenure, the Swede achieved a 91-6-10 record that included two Olympic Gold medals and a second-place finish at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.
"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," said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. "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."
Previous USWNT coaches
Mike Ryan (1985)
Anson Dorrance (1986-1994)
Tony DiCicco (1994-1999)
April Heinrichs (2000-2004)
Greg Ryan (2005-2007)
Pia Sundhage (2008-2012)