Abby Wambach Says Players Not Behind Coach’s FiringBy: Emily Greene - April 9, 2014
After U.S women’s national team (USWNT) coach Tom Sermanni was unexpectedly fired, many, including Sermanni, were searching for answers on why he was handed his pink slip after the USWNT beat China in an exhibition game in Denver on Sunday
USWNT forward Abby Wambach spoke out on Tuesday about Sermanni’s firing, saying players were not behind it.
Not long after their first practice without Sermanni as coach Wambach said, ”Everybody out there who may think the players made this happen, none of it’s true.”
It seems Sermanni’s soccer philosophy didn’t seem to match up with the U.S. Soccer Federation’s philosophy, according to Wambach.
”That’s not anyone’s fault. That’s the hard part. I wish he was a jerk in some ways because it would be easier. But that’s just not the case. He’s such a good guy. He treated us all with the utmost respect and we couldn’t wish him nothing but the best of luck,” said Wambach.
Wambach doesn’t believe U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati firing Sermanni was a hasty decision.
”Every coach that comes on has their own philosophy and stamp that they want to put on the game. For us, we’re very American, attack-oriented, score goals until the 95th minute. That’s how we are. I think that maybe the direction of the team wasn’t going in the direction the federation had hoped, not only the Algarve result, but I think just in general,” said Wambach.
The 2012 FIFA women’s world player of the year said Sermanni spoke with the team after he was fired. Said Wambach, ”It takes a lot of courage to get up there and do what he did.”
Wambach added, ”The hard part is Tom is such an amazing guy and he is so classy and the way he handled himself even after being told he was being let go was maybe some of the best people experience I’ve ever seen. He handled himself with the utmost respect, wished us the very best. He did the very best that he could. He’s brought us along for these last 15 months to here. We love and care for him so much and we appreciate everything that has happened.”
Hope Solo added that if the players had anything to do with Sermanni getting fired, it was that they didn’t perform better in the Algarve Cup in Portugal last month.
Solo said, ”We didn’t play our best soccer in Portugal. We came in seventh place. That’s not good enough for this team. At the end of the day, we failed Tom. We didn’t put together a great tournament.”
The goalkeeper added that it had been ”a somber couple of days. It’s been tough. This is our first training without Tom here. Anytime you go through change it’s going to be hard. But through the thick and the toughest of times, this team always bounces back. We still have a good 15 months before the World Cup and I have no doubt we’re going to be on top of our game next summer.”
Fans took to Twitter to congratulate the players on speaking out, while others hope they’re telling the truth, and some just don’t trust what they say, especially Wambach, at all.
Jill Ellis has been appointed as the interim coach for the USWNT.
Image via Abby Wambach, Twitter.