The U.S. women's national soccer team is searching for a new coach after Pia Sundhage's announcement that she will leave the team. Head coach Sundhage plans to return to Sweden, and the U.S. has started the process of finding a replacement. Speculation about the next coach has been widespread, but several candidates have become prominent.
Erica Walsh as a Replacement for Pia Sundhage
Erica Walsh, the assistant coach for the U.S. women's soccer team, has had the same job since 2007. She is rumored to be a strong candidate that could replace Pia Sundhage. Walsh is also the soccer coach at Penn State University and has also been a part of the Panel of Instructors and Lecturers for FIFA Courses. The U.S. is rumored to be leaning toward hiring someone within the organization.
April Heinrichs as a Replacement for Pia Sundhage
April Heinrichs is another possibility in the U.S. team's search for a replacement. She is the current technical director and has experience as a head coach at the national level. Heinrichs led the squad from 2000 to 2005, and the U.S. women's team won the 2004 Olympic gold medal. Although it is possible that she may receive an offer, there are rumors that she may not be interested.
Tony DiCicco as a Replacement for Pia Sundhage
Tony DiCicco was the head coach for the U.S. women's team from 1994 to 1999 and went on to coach the Boston Breakers who were part of the WPS (Women's Professional Soccer). During his time with the national team, the U.S. won a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics and the 1999 World Cup. There have been reports about his return, but U.S. soccer may be looking for new leadership.
Jillian Ellis as a Replacement for Pia Sundhage
Jillian Ellis has been the development director for the U.S. women's team since 2011. She also has experience coaching at UCLA and won the NSCAA National Coach of the Year award in 2000. Although she is respected in the organization, it is not clear if she would be offered or be willing to accept the head coach position.
More from this contributor:
Lana follows MLS, UEFA and FIFA. She is an avid athlete and youth coach. Follow @Lana_Bandoim on Twitter.
- Sports & Recreation
- Pia Sundhage