New U.S. women’s soccer coach Tom Sermanni didn’t break out into song. Nor did he start calling out rival soccer coaches.
Instead, Sermanni came across as a level-headed guy who seems to appreciate the complexities of his new job without rushing to judgment on how he wants to proceed.
He wants to play a positive, attacking style, continuing the efforts Pia Sundhage made to eliminate “kickball” (in the words of Mark Ziegler).
“The game’s changing at a rapid pace,” he said in response to Brian Straus’s question about whether he needed to overhaul the team or just keep a steady hand on the helm of the fastest boat in the fleet. In other words, Sermanni knows every team, no matter how good, will have to evolve.
And he’s going to keep an open mind about the player pool. Asked about integrating young players, Sermanni said he wants to have greater competition not just from the U-20s on their way up but players already IN their 20s. If you have a particular favorite from WPS who never got much of a chance under Pia, that has to be heartwarming.
But he hastened to say he hasn’t made any decisions yet. He doesn’t know if he’ll start a drastically different side in his first home friendly. He’s not rushing to push out Shannon Boxx or Christie Rampone, saying he’s not going to make decisions based on “chronological age.”
Basically, he managed to come across as open-minded without being ignorant. Impressive.
We’ll see how long of a honeymoon period he gets — my guess is it’ll tough for him to pick a roster that offends no one on Twitter — but he came across quite well in this first impression. Friendly, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and sincere.
Too bad women’s soccer doesn’t have a major offyear tournament. (Copa America for whole Western Hemisphere would be fun.)