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May 17, 2013 at 2:20 PM

A stop and chat with USWNT coach Tom Sermanni

Photo credit: AP

Photo credit: AP

U.S. women’s national team coach Tom Sermanni was in attendance for Reign FC’s home game Thursday against the Washington spirit. The Scotsman took the time to chat with a couple reporters at halftime, and here is the full transcript:

*     *     *

(What brings you to Seattle?) “Well, this is the final one; I’ve been to all the other grounds (in the NWSL). It’s important to me to be out watching the games. That’s the first thing. It’s also important to get around to all the grounds in the league and see how things are going. It’s good to be here at last.”

(What do you make of the venue and also, more generally, what do you think of Seattle as a potential market to support women’s soccer?) “Firstly, I think the venue is great. I think it’s a great little atmosphere. The size of the stadium is about right for the league and where it’s at, at the moment. It’s a synthetic field that doesn’t have American football markings on it, and that’s a huge plus. And it looks like a good field for a synthetic field. So the whole setup here, I think from a soccer perspective, is fantastic. And Seattle itself is known, like Portland, to be a huge soccer market. You have a community that comes out and supports its teams, so for me, this is the ideal market for a women’s professional team.”

(With USWNT games coming up, has any of your scouting within the league changed your thoughts when it comes to player selection?) “Not quite at this stage. I think I have to be realistic. It’s still early in the year. I think I’ve seen Portland three times, this is Seattle’s third time I’ve seen them, but most other teams I’ve either seen twice or once, so unless someone comes out and really goes wild, it’s hard to make judgments on players. But I’ve seen a few players that have kind of caught my eye that I’ve maybe not known about or that haven’t been in the national team structure. I think I can make better judgments once we get to the second half of the season, because that’s really the test. The test is about longevity and consistency.”

(How important is it to the USWNT to have this league up and running?) “I think it’s critical, and it’s not just for me scouting. I think it’s critical in the development of the sport. It’s important to have strong clubs. Every top women’s football country has a national league, and it’s really important not just for national team players, but for players to have a potential career after they finish their years in college, for players to keep playing soccer, to have strong clubs and to have another layer of development in the game. And also have a place where young girls can come along and see the top players in the country play.”

(What will it do for depth of league with national team players leave for games coming up?) “What it will do is hurt some teams more than it hurts others. It might actually even out the teams a little bit … like Seattle, who unfortunately don’t have a national team player starting on the team because of injuries and various other things. So for them, from that perspective, it might even it out a little bit. But as I’ve said, the league isn’t just about national team players, and it’s something we need to cope with, as every league in the world does. It’s important that we build strong clubs and we build a strong league with the support of the national team players, but not necessarily having them all the time. We have to be able to do it without them, as well.”

(How is Hope Solo doing coming back from wrist surgery?) “She’s coming on well. Hopefully I’ll have a meeting with her (Friday). She should get the all-clear on her wrist by the end of this month, so she should be back in full training by that stage. Then she’ll get back into playing and be available for selection.”

(Think she’ll be available next month for you?) “I think unrealistic for the Canada game (on June 2). Then if she progresses well and gets back on the soccer field, there’s a possibility for the Korea games (on June 15 and 20).”

(What do you make of a player like Megan Rapinoe going overseas?) “It’s the way the game is these days. Players play all over the world in the men’s game and they play all over the world now in the women’s game. This was just a particular time that was just an opportunity that came up for Megan that she would’ve regretted if she didn’t take. As I’ve said, I can understand that. From a national team perspective and development, playing in Europe has its benefits, as well. Hopefully this league will get the benefit of her playing there when she comes back, when she’ll be really in top shape fitness-wise. Hopefully playing in Europe will help continue her development. From my perspective, obviously having every player in America is ideal. But you don’t ever get the ideal world unfortunately.”

(You’re not wearing any U.S. Soccer gear, so do many fans recognize you out here?) “A couple do, but I’m still quite anonymous. Happily anonymous. Happy to stay that way as long as I can.”

(Maybe not for much longer…) “Maybe. Depends on what happens. At least the ones who have recognized me have all been friendly. That’s a good thing.”


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