Fresh off leading the U.S. Women’s soccer team to a gold medal in the London Summer Olympic Games, head coach Pia Sundhage has stepped down. A native Swede, Sundhage will be returning home after signing a four-year contract to coach the Swedish national team.
Sundhage, who is openly gay, has been the American head coach since November 2007 and will coach two final matches this month before leaving the team. During her tenure, the U.S. women won two Olympic golds, most recently against Japan, the team that defeated them in heartbreaking fashion in the 2011 World Cup Final.
"Before I took this job, I always admired the spirit and character of the U.S. team, but to experience that first hand on the training field and from the bench as their coach was truly special and something I will treasure for the rest of my life,” Sundhage told the Associated Press. "I have long dreamed of becoming Sweden coach and now I am so happy.”
She leaves this team with support from her players, including veteran goalie Hope Solo, whotweeted: “Pia has allowed us 2 be individuals,while showing us what aTEAMreally is.She led us to 2 Golds,1 silver AND we played beautiful football!#fb”
There is currently no word on who Sundhage’s successor will be.
Image via Getty.