(Photo by Mark Thor / Orlando City SC)
Second-year Orlando Pride head coach Tom Sermanni has signed a contract extension, according to a team announcement released late Wednesday morning. Sermanni has led the Pride to their first-ever playoff appearance in just the second year of the team’s existence. Details of the extension were not announced.
“Keeping Tom was a no-brainer for our club,” Orlando City SC CEO Alex Leitão said, per the release. “He is one of, if not the, most accomplished coaches in soccer. His track record speaks for itself. I can’t wait to see what Tom and the Pride do in the upcoming [National Women’s Soccer League] playoffs and beyond.”
Said Sermanni on his extension, per the team’s release: “It’s exciting. I’ve had two great years here. This gives me another opportunity to continue to build the squad, to build the culture and philosophy around the team and just to be a part of this great organization. Orlando has felt like home to me virtually from Day 1 when I came here. It’s wonderful.
“There’s the stadium, there’s the people in the club and the community as well. It’s a mix of all those things that makes this club unique. And having been in football for some considerable time, you don’t often get that complete environment, and that’s what makes this club very special to me.”
Sermanni had a rough go-around his first year with the Pride. The Pride finished in ninth place out of 10 positions in the 2016 season, Orlando’s inaugural season. Since then, though, Sermanni and the Pride have finished the 2017 season on a nine-game unbeaten streak, propelling themselves into the No. 3 slot in the 2017 NWSL Playoffs.
Orlando left for Portland on Wednesday and will play the Portland Thorns on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Regarding Sermanni’s coaching experience, he has enjoyed significant success at the international level. From January 2013 to April 2014, Sermanni led the United States women’s national team to a 17-2-4 record, a No. 1 FIFA ranking and the 2013 Algarve Cup. The 63-year-old has also coached the Australian women’s national team from 1994 to 1996 and again from 2002 to 2012, making appearances in the quarterfinals in consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cups in 2007 and 2011.
Sermanni also won the Women’s United Soccer Association 2002 Coach of the Year Award for leading the New York Power that season. As a player, he played in over 300 matches over two decades in four different countries: Scotland, England, Australia and New Zealand. He would retire in 1989 and begin coaching.
For more on the Pride, as they prepare for their first-ever playoff game, follow Victor Tan on Twitter at @NDR_VictorTan.