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USWNT coach Pia Sundhage returns home to Sweden

Pia Sundhage

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US women's national team head coach Pia Sundhage has decided to return home to pursue opportunities in Sweden, US Soccer announced in a press release on Saturday.

"It was an honor to be able to coach these players for five years and I learned a tremendous amount from them," said Sundhage in the release. "I want to thank all the players and all of my assistant coaches for making me better. Before I took this job, I always admired the spirit and character of the US 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. Although it is time to move on, I'd like to thank US Soccer for this wonderful opportunity and I wish this team and the players all the best in the future."

Sundhage, who took over in 2007, led her team to two Olympic gold medals and the 2011 World Cup final.

EDIT: Reports on Twitter suggest that Sundhage has signed on to coach the Sweden women's national team.

As news broke, tributes to the US coach poured in over social media from players, fans and media:

Qualification for the 2015 Women's World Cup, which is to be held in Canada, is set to take place in 2014. The US women will kick off their post-Olympics victory tour on Saturday afternoon in Rochester, N.Y., against Costa Rica (2:30 pm ET; NBC). They'll also play Australia twice in September, and have a pair of games against Germany scheduled for October. Sundhage is expect to stay on until the end of September, but the timetable after that is not clear.

USSF president Sunil Gulati said the search for Sundhage's successor will begin immediately.


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