Former national team coach to visit Pinewood

  • Friday, April 11, 2014

Just days after being dismissed as the head coach for the U.S. Women’s National Team, Tom Sermanni packed his bags for Summerville.

Sermanni, who was relieved as the head coach of the U.S. national team just Sunday, will make several appearances at Pinewood Preparatory School this weekend. He is in town as part of Pinewood’s Alumni Weekend during which the school will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Pinewood claiming four state championships (Girls Volleyball, Girls Swimming, Boys Swimming and Boys Soccer) during the 2003-04 school year and hold its 2014 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

On Friday, Pinewood will host a cookout for those championship teams and their families. Later that evening, Sermanni will serve as Honorary Captain for the Panthers and Lady Panthers in their soccer games against region rival Porter-Gaud. The girls play at 5:30 and at 7 the two boys’ teams play for the lead in the region race.

On Saturday, Pinewood will induct eight members into the Hall of Fame and Sermanni will serve as the keynote speaker for the ceremony. From 2-3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sermanni will run a youth soccer clinic open to all boys and girls age 12-18. A few spots are still available for a $25 registration fee. For more information, contact Pinewood girls’ soccer coach Gail Osborne at gosborne@pinewoodprep.com.

“To have someone of Tom’s caliber on our campus is not only great for Pinewood but is great for our soccer community,” Osborne said. “Pinewood has a rich tradition of soccer history and for Tom to be here on this special weekend for us is a huge honor. His knowledge, experience and thirst for the game is so immense. I am excited for the athletes signed up for the clinic who will be able to get an insight into his coaching ability. This will be a day they will never forget.”

Sermanni had several years of success coaching the Australian women’s team before he took over as the head coach for the U.S. women, a position he held for some 15 months. The 59-year-old Scotsman was unbeaten in his first 20 games with the U.S., going 16-0-4.

But during last month’s Algarve Cup in Portugal the U.S. lost to Sweden and Denmark, ending a 43-game streak without a loss. The loss to Sweden was particularly hard to take because that team is coached by Pia Sundhage, Sermanni’s predecessor on the U.S. team. The Americans placed seventh in the tournament that they had grown accustomed to winning.

The U.S. defeated China 2-0 on Sunday, but hours after the victory Sermanni was dismissed. In a press release U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati stated organization leaders felt the program needed to go in a different direction.

The move shocked many in the soccer community and left analysts speculating as to whether the U.S. Women’s results at the Algarve Cup could be attributed to Sermanni experimenting with new styles and giving younger players a chance to prove themselves as opposed to a drop in the team’s overall performance.

Pinewood officials are happy the coach isn’t letting his sudden dismissal from the U.S. national team prevent him from coming to town.

“That is the type of guy he is,” said Osborne, who has been friends with Sermanni since she served as the community relations manager for a Californian professional women’s team that Sermanni helped coach several years ago. “He honors his commitments and we are so glad he does. Tom is a great coach and our players can learn a lot from being around him. I don’t know what his future plans are, but I’m sure he has plenty of offers already. I could see him coaching at a D-1 college or something like that.”

Members of the Pinewood community who will be inducted to the Pinewood Hall of Fame Saturday are Alexandra Ginsberg, Ned Ginsberg, Chuck Kuhnell, Brielle Weinstein, Kimrey Angotti-Smith, JD Spearman, Malcolm Reed and Ryan Steed.

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