The timing of the firing of Tom Sermanni as head coach of the USWNT came as a surprise to many. The end of a dreadful showing in the Algarve Cup seems like the more appropriate time to relieve Sermanni of his duties in hindsight. Instead, the action comes hours after the USWNT beat China 2-0 in a friendly and four days ahead of another match against the same country. However, the timing can be explained by frustration from the players voiced to the right people within the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Sunil Gulati has often thought of the USWNT as his baby. The players were vocal about frustrations with Sermanni about a month ago and the play on the field was far from their expectation of dominance. Sermanni has continued to experiment with his team, but by doing so has expanded the player pool. However the results were needed as the team sits six months from World Cup qualifying. If Gulati was leaning toward a firing and the team voiced issues, then it was not going to wait.
Players felt they weren’t learning and advancing under Sermanni. Unclear whether they went to Gulati for change. #uswnt
— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) April 7, 2014
It is unclear if it was a certain player that went to Gulati or if there was just a vocal minority that got out through other means. Of course this is the leading rumor as to why Sermanni was canned, but his philosophy was flawed. Perhaps this was not the time to experiment and expand the player pool. Of all the new players infused into the team under Sermanni, Meghan Klingenberg may be the only one that truly took her chance on the field. Sermanni even tried a new formation on Sunday which continued to show his lack of direction. At this point, the team needed to be moving toward results and it was not.
The truth will eventually surface, but for now, it is a combination of Sermanni’s methods along with player frustration that seem to be the reason behind the firing. This makes the second Sunday in a row that the USSF announced coaching changes on its national teams. The search for a full-time coach begins immediately with World Cup qualifying looming.