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Swede takes charge of U.S. women's coach
November 14th, 2007 7AM

TAGS:  women's national team, women's world cup


[THE SUNDHAGE FILE] Swede Pia Sundhage, 47, has been named U.S. women's national team coach, becoming the first foreign coach to head the team in the 22-year history of the U.S. women's national team program. Sundhage is charged with qualifying the USA for the 2008 Olympics and winning the gold medal a year after the Americans, under Coach Greg Ryan, finished a disappointing third-place at the 2007 Women's World Cup. For facts and figures on Pia Sundhage. ...

* When Pia Sundhage was an 11-year-old in Sweden there were no girls soccer teams, so she played with women's club Ulricehamn with teammates as old as 30.


* Sundhage is the sixth head coach in the U.S. women's national team's history and the second woman: Mike Ryan (1985), Anson Dorrance (1986-1994), Tony DiCicco (1994-1999), April Heinrichs (2000-2004), Greg Ryan (2005-07).

* Sundhage's playing career for Sweden spanned 22 years and included appearances at the 1991 and 1995 World Cups and 1996 Olympics. She earned 146 caps and scored 71 goals

* She most recently served as assistant coach of China at the 2007 Women's World Cup.

* During the three-year existence of the U.S. women's pro league, the WUSA, Sundhage served as the top assistant for the Philadelphia Charge during the 2001 and 2002 seasons and as head coach of the Boston Breakers in 2003. She guided the Breakers, which had not made the playoffs in their first two seasons, to the regular-season championship and their first playoff berth.

* Sundhage is pronounced Soond-hahg-Eh.

* Sundhage served as a scout for the USA during the 2004 Olympics, where it won the gold medal.

* She started her coaching career while still playing, serving as player-coach for the Hammarby club from 1992-1994.

* She coached Sweden's youth national teams for 11 years (1990-2001), coaching the U-16s, the U-19s and U-21s.

* Through 1996, she was still playing for Sweden's national team, then became head coach of Sweden's U-19 women's national team, guiding it the team to one gold medal and two bronze medals at the European Championships.

* She served as a scout for Sweden during the 1997 European Championships, the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup, the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup and the 2000 Olympics. She has also worked for FIFA on its Technical Study Group staff for the 2004 FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship in Thailand.

* Sundhage played forward, midfielder and sweeper during a career that included stints with Swedish clubs Falkoping KIK, Jitex BK, Hammarby and Osters. She won the Swedish Cup four times and the league title four times. She had a brief stint with Lazio in Italy in 1985.

* After the WUSA folded, Sundhage coached for one year in Norway at Kolbotn before returning to her native Sweden where she coached KIF Orebro in Sweden's top division for two and half years.

* She scored four goals for Sweden at the 1991 Women's World Cup, helping the Swedes to a third-place finish. She scored one goal in the 1995 Women's World Cup (against Germany) and played every minute of all three matches at the Atlanta Olympics.

* She debuted for Sweden at age 15 in 1975 and ended her 22-year international career at the 1996 Olympics. She helped Sweden to the first European Women's Championship in 1984.

* In 2000, she finished sixth in the voting for FIFA Women's Player of the Century.

* Sundhage's image was put on a Swedish postage stamp in the mid-1980s


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