Originally posted on Philly Sports Live  |  Last updated 9/1/12

Earlier this morning, the United States Soccer Federation announced that Women’s National Team head coach Pia Sundhage will be leaving the team to pursue new coaching opportunities in her native Sweden.  While the news comes as a bit of a shock, it is not completely out of the blue.  Sundhage had been vocal about wanting to possibly go back home on more than one occasion.  U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati had this to say about Pia’s choice to go back home:

“After the Olympics we had discussions and early in the process it became clear that Pia was interested in returning home to Sweden.  It certainly wasn’t an easy decision for U.S. Soccer or Pia. She deserves a tremendous amount of credit for the amazing success the U.S. Women’s National Team had during the past five years.”

 With today’s match against Costa Rica likely being Sundhage’s last match with the USWNT, the hunt for a new head coach will begin immediately.  No names or deadlines however have yet to be revealed bu U.S. Soccer.  The soon to be former head coach had this to say about her past five years with the team:

“It was an honor to be able to coach these players for five years and I learned a tremendous amount from them.  I want to thank all the players and assistant coaches for making me better.  Before I took this job, I always admired the spirit and characters of the U.S. 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 U.S. Soccer for this wonderful opportunity and I wish the team and the players all the best in the future.”

Since being hired in 2007, Pia Sundhage put up an impressive 88-6-10 record.  In her five year run, Sundhage  has won two Olympic gold medals with her squad, reached the Final match of the 2011 World Cup in Beijing and earned three Algarve Cup titles in Portugal.

The USWNT will face Costa Rica this afternoon in the first of five announced matches in a Fan Appreciation Tour.  That match kicks off at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

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