Tom Sermanni, USMNT
(Getty Images)

Sermanni new head coach of US women's national team

Scotsman Tom Sermanni has been hired as the head coach of the US women's national soccer team, US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati announced on Tuesday.

Sermanni, coming off an 11-year stint as head coach of the Australian women's national team, will replace the outgoing Pia Sundhage, who resigned earlier this year after leading the US team to two Olympic gold medals and a second-place finish in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.

"After an extensive search and interview process, we believe Tom Sermanni is the right person at the right time to lead our women's national team," Gulati said in a statement. "He has the knowledge, experience and vision to take on the challenge of keeping our team at the top of the world. He has a tremendous passion for the game, knows the American players, understands our system and knows the process of preparing a team for a World Cup tournament. We're tremendously excited to have him on board as we look forward to qualification for the 2015 Women's World Cup."

Sermanni has been instrumental in improving the Australian women's program over two stints. He led the Matildas to conseuctive quarterfinal appearances in the 2007 and 2011 Women's World Cups during his second go-around, from 2004-2012. He also led them to the 1995 edition of the tournament, the highlight of his 1994-97 tenure.

In addition to his international experience, Sermanni has coached at the club level in the US, serving as an assistant for the San Jose CyberRays in the now-defunct WUSA when they won the 2001 title.

The selection was made out of a field of 30 candidates by a search committee headed by Gulati that included other US Soccer officials, as well as former USWNT players Mia Hamm and Danielle Slaton.

"I'm honored to have this opportunity to work with tremendous players and in a program that has had such a tradition of success," Sermanni said in a statement. "US Soccer has always been at the forefront of supporting the women's game, and it's exciting to coach the team in this next chapter of its history.

"After coaching against many of these players for years, I am looking forward to working with an accomplished group of veterans while integrating the numerous talented young players who are itching for a chance to prove themselves. It will be an exciting few years for the US team and for all the great fans as we work toward the highest goals at the 2015 Women's World Cup."

The newly appointed coach will not take charge until Jan. 1, 2013, and US Soccer women's development director Jill Ellis will take charge of the remaining five USWNT games in 2012.