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Swede Sundhage relishes U.S. women's 'challenge'
by Paul Kennedy, October 24th, 2007 7AM



Head coach Marika Domanski-Lyfors and assistant Pia Sundhage have quit the Chinese women's national team, leading Sundhage, who coached in WUSA for three years, to say she would be interested in the challenge of the U.S. women's national team head coaching job for which her name has come up prominently since Greg Ryan's exit as U.S. women's national team coach.

Domanski-Lyfors, Sweden's coach when it finished second at the 2003 Women's World Cup, was brought in to coach China's Steel Roses, who began the year with a series of disastrous results, and led them to the quarterfinals of the Women's World Cup. Sundhage came in to help Domanski-Lyfors as her assistant.

China's respectable showing prompted the Chinese Sports Ministry to instruct the China Football Association to make every effort to retain Domanski-Lyfors and Sundhage, but after lengthy negotiations they declined.

One would not stay without the other, and Domanski-Lyfors had said she wanted to spend more time with her family. Sundhage reportedly had issues with the food.

Sundhage's name has come up frequently as U.S. Soccer looks for a successor for Greg Ryan. She meets several criteria U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said he would be looking for in a new head coach. She has knowledge of the American women's game, having worked as a head coach and assistant in WUSA, and has experience on the international scene.

Sundhage, who is being pursued by Swedish club AIK Stockholm, was quoted in the Swedish women's soccer web site as saying the U.S. job was "a challenge I would take" and that the U.S. women must refine their game which she says is now built around their athleticism.

The China Daily reported that former U.S. coach April Heinrichs, former France coach Loisel Elisabeth and Brazilian Jorge Barcelos are candidates for the China job.


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