Fresh off a second Olympic Gold medal, United States women's head coach Pia Sundhage has stepped down. A search for her replacement has already begun, but no timetable has been set.
"After the Olympics we had discussions and early in the process it became clear that Pia was very interested in returning home to Sweden," U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said in a statement. "It certainly wasn’t an easy decision for U.S. Soccer or Pia. She deserves a tremendous amount of credit for the amazing success the U.S. Women’s National Team had during the past five years. On behalf of U.S. Soccer, we sincerely appreciate Pia’s hard work, dedication and commitment to the organization. We wish her all the best in the future."
Sundhage was brought in mainly with the goal of restoring the United States' status as the preeminent power in women's soccer, which had clearly started to wane as they were coming off back-to-back third-place finishes in the World Cup. Although Sundhage did not accomplish the ultimate goal during her five years, the United States did go 88-6-10, win two Gold Medals and advance to the 2011 Women's World Cup finals. She leaves the United States as the No. 1 ranked team in the world.
"It was an honor to be able to coach these players for five years and I learned a tremendous amount from them," said Sundhage. "I want to thank all the players and all of my assistant coaches for making me better. Before I took this job, I always admired the spirit and character of the U.S. team, but to experience that first-hand on the training field and from the bench as their coach was truly special and something I will treasure for the rest of my life. Although it is time to move on, I’d like to thank U.S. Soccer for this wonderful opportunity and I wish this team and the players all the best in the future."