Openly gay US Women’s Soccer coach Pia Sundhage is at the helm of, arguably, the best US squad since the late 90s.
And with all their success on the field, we’re used to hearing names like Abby Wambach, Megan Rapinoe, Hope Solo and Alex Morgan. But what about their leader and mentor, the woman who sets the lineup, runs the practice sessions, and draws up the plays?
When Sundhage took the job of head coach back in 2007, she conducted an interview with Swedish television personality, Lasse Bengtsson, about her new role. During that interview Pia came out by saying, “there has been no problem for me to be openly gay as head coach in the U.S.”
That’s great, you have to love that she, and her partner Marie, have been accepted and given a warm welcome in the states and in the soccer community. But, what about in other countries across globe?
SBNation recently ran a commentary reflecting on what it’s like for the growing list of out LGBT athletes and coaches, and how much influence they have over the success of their athletes and programs.
There is no question that Sundhage is working her way up to becoming the most successful U.S. Women’s coach in history. In 103 matches since 2007, she has coached her team to an impressive .888 win percentage. The US record under Sundhage is 86 wins, 11 draws, and only 6 losses. And currently, she sits behind April Heinrichs (2000-2004, 124 matches/.782 win percentage) and Tony DiCicco (1994-1999, 119 matches/.899 win percentage) as the third longest reigning coach in US Women’s Soccer history.
Next up, coach Pia and the rest of the national team have made it through to the gold medal match in London, where they are scheduled to face Japan on Thursday at 2:45pm ET at Wembley Stadium. The game promises to be one of the ages, the US is hoping to find redemption against Japan, who defeated the US in the penalty kick phase of the 2011 World Cup final.