The Orlando Pride will make their first NWSL playoff appearance in two seasons of existence on Saturday. Today, the organization rewarded Head Coach Tom Sermanni for helping guide the team to the postseason with a contract extension. The club would not provide details on the length of the extension or of Sermanni’s original deal, so it’s anyone’s guess how long Orlando has him locked up.
“Keeping Tom was a no-brainer for our club,” Orlando City SC CEO Alex Leitão said in a club press release. “He is one of, if not the, most accomplished coaches in soccer. His track record speaks for itself. I can’t wait to see what Tom and the Pride do in the upcoming NWSL playoffs and beyond.”
Sermanni, 63, was originally announced as the team’s first-ever head coach when the club was formally announced on Oct. 20, 2015. He guided the Pride to a 6-13-1 record in the team’s expansion year in 2016 — a disappointing finish that was impacted heavily by international player absences during the Olympics. The Pride rebounded to finish 11-6-7 in 2017, finishing third in the regular season NWSL standings. Sermanni’s record as Pride manager stands at 17-19-8 over two seasons.
“It’s exciting. I’ve had a great two years here. This gives me another opportunity to continue to build the squad; to build the culture and philosophy around the team and just to be a part of this great organization,” Sermanni said in the club release. “Orlando has felt like home to me virtually from day one when I came here. It’s wonderful. There’s the stadium, there’s the people in the club and the community as well. It’s a mix of all of those things that makes this club unique. And having been in football for some considerable time, you don’t often get that complete environment and that’s what makes this club very special to me.”
Sermanni led the United States Women’s National Team in 2013 and 2014. He posted an unbeaten 13-0-3 record in 2013 and coached the team to the Algarve Cup championship that year. After winning three international friendlies against Canada and Russia (twice) by a combined score of 16-0 to start 2014, the team finished just seventh in the 2014 Algarve Cup, without winning a group stage game. The Glasgow-born Scotsman was let go by the U.S. in April of 2014, following a 2-0 friendly win over China. He was then hired on as a technical consultant by the Canadian women's national team.
Prior to joining the U.S., Sermanni served as coach of the Australian women's national team from December of 2004 to October of 2012 -- his second stint with the team (1994-97). He led Australia to the FIFA Women's World Cup quarterfinals in both 2007 and 2011. He has also coached men's club sides, such as Canberra Croatia/Metros (Australia) and Sanfrecce Hiroshima (Japan).
Sermanni was previously head coach of the Women's United Soccer Association's New York Power in 2003, taking over a 3-17-1 team and leading it to a 7-9-5 mark before taking the Australia women's national team job for the second time.
As a professional player, Sermanni was a midfielder in Scotland, England and Australia with such sides as Albion Rovers, Blackpool, Torquay United, Dunfermline Athletic, Marconi Stallions FC, Canberra City FC, and Canberra Croatia. He scored 57 goals in 312 career matches.
He’ll lead the Pride into battle in the NWSL semifinals against the Portland Thorns on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET (Lifetime).