Tom Sermanni’s brief tenure as head coach of the U.S. women’s national soccer team is over.
The U.S. Soccer Federation fired Sermanni on Sunday, replacing him with U.S. Soccer’s director of development (and former national team head coach) Jill Ellis.
“We want to thank Tom for his service over the past year and half, but we felt that we needed to go in a different direction at this time,” U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said in a statement. “We will begin looking for a new coach immediately to guide our Women’s National Team toward qualifying for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.”
The announcement came just hours after the U.S. defeated China 2-0 in an exhibition game in Commerce City, Colo.
“I’m disappointed that things didn’t work out, but I’d like to thank U.S. Soccer for the opportunity to have coached this team and also the staff and players for all their hard work,” Sermanni said.
Sermanni replaced Pia Sundhage on the U.S. bench on January 1, 2013. The Scot led the Americans to a 13-0-3 record in 2013, but they have struggled in 2014.
Last month, the U.S. finished in seventh place at the Algarve Cup — a run which included the national team’s first losing streak in 13 years.
Nevertheless, Sunday’s announcement came as a shock to most observers of the women’s game.
Sermanni’s final record as head coach of the U.S. was 18-2-4.
Ellis will lead the U.S. against China on Thursday in San Diego and remain in charge while U.S. Soccer searches for Sermanni’s full-time successor.
Ellis spent seven games as the national team’s interim head coach in 2012, going 5-0-2.