Following the departure of Vlatko Andonovski, the focus of U.S. Soccer now shifts toward considering Sarina Wiegman as a strong contender for the role of head coach.
Wiegman, the current coach of the England women’s team, has garnered recognition not only within the women’s football sphere but also across the broader football landscape. Often mentioned in the same breath as renowned managers like Pep Guardiola, Jürgen Klopp, Carlo Ancelotti, and Didier Deschamps, she has demonstrated exceptional coaching prowess.
Having reached her second consecutive World Cup final, Wiegman’s impressive achievements include leading the Netherlands to the final four years ago. Notably, she accomplished this feat despite facing challenges such as the absence of key players due to injuries and suspensions. Moreover, her coaching has resulted in her teams clinching the last two European championships — England in the previous year and the Netherlands in 2017.
Reflecting on her achievements, Wiegman expressed her appreciation for reaching the final, acknowledging the competitive nature of the tournament. She highlighted that reaching the final stage is an arduous task, even for favored teams, as proven by several strong teams being eliminated during the group stage.
In contrast, the U.S. women’s team experienced an unexpected exit in the round of 16, marking their earliest departure from a World Cup or Olympic event.
While securing Wiegman’s services is a challenging prospect due to her contract with England through 2025, Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham has unequivocally stated that any inquiries from U.S. Soccer or any other party would be rejected. Bullingham lauded Wiegman’s exceptional talents and expressed a desire to maintain a long-lasting working relationship with her.
However, U.S. Soccer must aim for the highest quality for the USWNT, and Wiegman’s credentials make her a fitting choice.
The task of elevating the USWNT to its former pinnacle could be an enticing proposition for Wiegman. U.S. Soccer has an opportunity to present a compelling case, emphasizing how Wiegman’s involvement could contribute to the advancement of the sport.
As it stands, Wiegman’s reported annual salary of slightly over $500,000 surpasses the remuneration paid to Andonovski in 2021, the most recent available data. However, it falls short of the $718,000-plus received by Jill Ellis in 2019, following her second World Cup triumph. This figure also pales in comparison to the $6.3 million commanded by England’s men’s team coach, Gareth Southgate.
Bullingham attributed the salary gap between Wiegman and Southgate to prevailing market conditions and suggested that women’s salaries would equalize with time. This explanation, however, might be interpreted as a delay tactic. Notably, U.S. Soccer has demonstrated a willingness to reshape market dynamics in pursuit of equality.
Sarina Wiegman’s coaching prowess and accomplishments make her a strong candidate for the USWNT coaching position. While securing her services might be challenging, the potential benefits and contributions she could bring to the team warrant careful consideration.
As U.S. Soccer contemplates its next move for the USWNT coaching position, Wiegman emerges as a compelling candidate who could not only guide the team back to its former glory but also contribute to the advancement of women’s football as a whole. While challenges lie ahead, the potential rewards of having Wiegman at the helm are undeniable.
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