US women's coach Tom Sermanni fired

The Associated Press Published:

CHICAGO (AP) -- On Sunday afternoon, Tom Sermanni coached the U.S. women's team to a 2-0 win over China in a friendly in Colorado.

By Sunday night, he was out of a job.

U.S. Soccer fired Sermanni after a disappointing seventh-place finish last month at the Algarve Cup. The surprising move came just 16 months after he took over the program.

"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 statement. "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."

Sermanni was hired in October 2012, but Jill Ellis served as interim coach until he took over in January 2013. Sermanni made his debut in a 4-1 win over his native Scotland on Feb. 10, 2013.

He previously spent eight years coaching Australia's women's team, leading the Matildas to the quarterfinals of the last two Women's World Cups.

The U.S. squad was unbeaten last year under Sermanni, winning 13 matches and drawing three, but struggled at the recent Algarve Cup.

The seventh-place finish included a 1-0 loss to Sweden and former U.S. coach Pia Sundhage, ending a two-year, 43-game unbeaten streak. It was Sermanni's first loss as the U.S. coach.

Sermanni's sacking was announced a few hours after Lauren Holiday and Megan Rapinoe scored in the Americans' 2-0 victory over China. The Americans held China to one shot on goal while running their home unbeaten streak to 81 games (71 wins, 10 draws).

"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 national governing body's statement.

Ellis, the director of development for U.S. Soccer, will take over as interim coach. The team plays China again on Thursday in San Diego.

The Americans have won the last three Olympic gold medals, including two under Sundhage, but haven't won the World Cup since 1999.