USWNT NEWS

Sundhage contract extended through 2012 Olympics

December 15, 2008

CHICAGO -- U.S. women's soccer coach Pia Sundhage received a four-year contract extension through the 2012 Olympics after leading the Americans to the gold medal at this year's Beijing Games.

"Pia has demonstrated the qualities of a great leader, a great soccer tactician and she is a winner," U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said in a statement Monday.

Sundhage replaced Greg Ryan last November after the team finished third at the 2007 World Cup. Ryan made a contentious decision to switch goalkeepers for the semifinal, which the Americans lost. Sundhage originally received a one-year contract with a four-year USSF option.

Under Sundhage, the team has gone 33-1-1, including a penalty-kicks victory over Canada in the final of Olympic qualifying in the North and Central American and Caribbean region. The U.S. team won its third Olympic gold medal, defeating Brazil 1-0 in the final on Carli Lloyd's goal in the sixth minute of overtime.

"We've done so many things in a short amount of time and been successful so far," Sundhage said. "The reason it is so exciting to continue with this team is that I can see the potential. Last January, we started talking about keeping possession and finding the rhythm and I think we've done a pretty good job so far. But these next steps will be about going into the attacking third and being even more unpredictable, playing more beautiful soccer and scoring more goals."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press