After just 15 months on the job, U.S. Soccer surprisingly fired women’s coach Tom Sermanni after Sunday’s 2-0 win against China in Commerce City, Colo. The move comes seven months before qualifying begins for the 2015 World Cup, making the move alarming and leaves fans unsteady. Although, the US women’s team has a winning season, 18-2-4, it is still one of the worst seasons they’ve had in a long time. The nail in Sermanni’s coffin came at the Algarve cup last month. The US women’s team went 1-2-1 and ended up in seventh place, which is very uncharacteristic for the team. The coach also broke the team’s 43 game winning streak.
Sermanni made his debut in a 4-1 win over his native Scotland on Feb. 10, 2013. He spent the previous eight years coaching Australia’s women’s team, leading the Matildas to the quarterfinals of the last two World Cups.
“We felt that we needed to go in a different direction at this time,” USSF President Sunil Gulati said. He said the federation will begin looking for a new coach immediately, with the team looking toward qualifying for the 2015 Women’s World Cup. On Monday, a message on goalkeeper Hope Solo’s Twitter account addressed the firing: “It’s a somber day for us all today. Tom is simply a classy man in every way, and he will certainly be missed.” Jill Ellis, the USSF’s director of development, will serve as interim coach. She went 5-0-2 in that role in 2012. The women’s team faces China again on Thursday in San Diego. “I was completely blindsided,” Sermanni told SI.com on Sunday night. “Maybe I’m losing my intuitive and perception skills, but I didn’t sense a real unease in the team. But I could be wrong in that regard.” Sermanni said he assumes there was “some degree of dissatisfaction among the players, otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten to this point so quickly now.” He added that the players did what he asked and he has “no qualms with them in the sense of having poor relations with them.” He was hired in October 2012, but Ellis served as interim coach until he took over that January.