Pia Sundhage

Last updated

Pia Sundhage
Pia Sundhage in January 2013
Personal information
Full namePia Morrow Sundhage
Date of birth (1960-02-13) 13 February 1960 (age 58)
Place of birth Ulricehamn, Sweden
Club information
Current team
Sweden (Manager)
Youth career
1975 IFK Ulricehamn
1975–1976 SGU Falköping
Senior career*
1977–1978 Falköpings KIK
1979–1981 Jitex BK
1982–1983 Östers IF (65)
1984 Jitex BK
1985 S.S. Lazio (17)
1985 Stattena IF
1985 Jitex BK
1986 Hammarby IF DFF
1987–1989 Jitex BK
1990–1996 Hammarby IF DFF
National team
1975–1996 Sweden 146 [1] (71 [1] )
Teams managed
1992–1994 Hammarby IF DFF (player/manager)
1998–1999 Vallentuna BK (assistant)
2000 AIK Fotboll Dam (assistant)
2001–2002 Philadelphia Charge (assistant)
2003 Boston Breakers
2004 Kolbotn Fotball
2005–2006 KIF Örebro DFF
2007 China (assistant)
2008–2012 United States
2012–2017 Sweden
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league onlyand correct as of 22:53, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 22:53, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

Pia Mariane Sundhage (Swedish pronunciation:  [²piːa ²sɵnːdˌhɑːɡɛ] ; born 13 February 1960) is a Swedish former professional football player who played most of her career as a forward, but had stints as a midfielder as well as a sweeper. Sundhage was the head coach of the United States women's national team from 2008 to 2012; during which her team won two Olympic gold medals and finished second at the World Cup. Sundhage was the 2012 FIFA World Coach of the Year. She became head coach of the Sweden women's national football team on 1 December 2012. Sundhage can be seen in the Sveriges Television documentary television series The Other Sport from 2013.


Playing career


Sundhage started with IFK Ulricehamn as a youth player and eventually moved to Falköpings KIK in 1978. She then joined Jitex BK from 1979 to 1981. Sundhage played 1982 to 1983 with Östers IF, scoring 30 times in her first season with the club and chipping in 35 more in her second season. 1984 saw a move back to Jitex BK, while 1985 saw Sundhage split time between Stattena IF, S.S. Lazio (where she scored 17 times), and Jitex BK. She played the 1986 season with Hammarby IF DFF, before she moved back to Jitex BK from 1979 through 1989. Sundhage finished her career with Hammarby IF DFF, playing from 1990 until she retired in 1996.

She won four Damallsvenskan championships, all with Jitex BK, as well as two additional Svenska Cupen with the club. She also won two Svenska Cupen with Hammarby IF DFF.


Sundhage made her first appearance for the Swedish National Team as a 15-year-old in 1975, eventually amassing 146 caps and scoring 71 goals for her country. [2] Her 71 goals gave her joint-lead with Lena Videkull for the most in the Swedish National Team history, a record which has since been surpassed by Hanna Ljungberg.

She participated for Sweden in the 1991 (a third-place finish) and 1995 editions of the FIFA Women's World Cup and the 1996 Summer Olympics. She won, and was the top scorer, in the 1984 UEFA Women's Championship. Her image appeared on a Swedish postage stamp in 1988. [3] In 1989 Sundhage scored the first goal in a women's match at Wembley Stadium, as Sweden beat England 20 in a curtainraiser for the Rous Cup. [4]

In 2000, Sundhage finished sixth in the voting for FIFA Women's Player of the Century.

Coaching career

Pre-United States

Sundhage got her start in coaching as a player/manager when she was with Hammarby IF DFF from 1992 to 1994. She then took assistants jobs with Vallentuna BK (1998 to 1999) and AIK Fotboll Dam (2000) before moving across the Atlantic Ocean to become an assistant with Philadelphia Charge of the new Women's United Soccer Association in the United States. She eventually was hired on by Boston Breakers as the head coach, winning the league title and being named the 2003 WUSA Coach of the Year in the process. Once the WUSA folded however, it was back to Scandinavia to take on further coaching positions.

Her relationship with the Boston Breakers led United States Women's National Team captain Kristine Lilly and fellow USWNT player Kate Markgraf joining her in the Swedish Damallsvenskan when Pia coached KIF Örebro DFF from 2005 to 2006, after a brief stint with Kolbotn IL in 2004. Lilly said she "wanted to play for Pia again."

Sundhage served as an assistant to Marika Domanski-Lyfors for the China Women's National Team during the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup.

United States Women's National Team Manager

Pia Sundhage was announced as the United States Women's National Team head coach on 13 November 2007. [5] She became the seventh head coach in the U.S. team's history and the third woman. Lauren Gregg was in charge for 3 games in 2000, April Heinrichs led the squad from 20002004 and won the 2004 Summer Olympics, while Sundhage served as a scout for the United States during the 2004 Olympics.

United States women's national team at the 2012 Summer Olympics

While at the helm of the United States, Sundhage won the 2008 Algarve Cup and Gold medals at both the 2008 Summer Olympics and the 2012 Summer Olympics. She was on the verge of winning the 2009 Algarve Cup, but the United States lost out to Sundhage's native Sweden on penalties. However, she did win the 2010 Algarve Cup a year later, defeating World and European Champions Germany 3-2 in the final.

She coached the Women's team to the final of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, where the team advanced to the final for the first time since 1999. However, they were upset by Japan, losing 3-1 on penalty kicks. A year later, Sundhage coached the USWNT to another gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, defeating Japan 2-1 in a Women's World Cup final rematch, with Carli Lloyd scoring both goals.

On 1 September 2012, Sundhage announced she was stepping down as the U.S Women's head coach having expressed a desire to seek opportunities in her native Sweden. Sundhage announced she would coach the U.S. team's games on 16 and 19 September on the team's Olympic victory tour before officially resigning. "I have days where I think, 'What am I doing?' and there are other days where I'm like, 'I'm all up for this next challenge'" Sundhage said upon announcing her departing the US women's national team. [6] She coached her last game against Australia as part the team's Olympic victory tour on 19 September, defeating them 6-2. With this final win Sundhage was able to leave the team with a 91-6-10(Win-Loss-Tie) record that included two Olympic Gold medals and a second-place finish at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. [7]

Sweden Women's National Team Manager

The Swedish Football Association announced early 2 September 2012 that Sundhage signed a four-year contract that starts on 1 December. The announcement came hours after Sundhage's match as coach of the U.S. women's team, an 8-0 win in a friendly match against Costa Rica; the first of a series organized to celebrate the winning of gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. Sundhage replaced Thomas Dennerby, who resigned after Sweden failed to reach the semifinals in 2012 Olympics. [8] "I have long dreamed of becoming Sweden coach and now I am so happy" Sundhage said. [9] First major tournament for Sundhage as coach of Sweden team, was the 2013 European championship which Sweden hosted; [10] Sweden lost 0-1 in the semi-final to Germany, which won the championship.

Personal life

In January 2010, Sundhage mentioned in a Swedish TV interview that as a lesbian she has not felt any homophobia as a coach. "There has been no problem for me to be openly gay as head coach in the U.S.," said Sundhage. [11]


Player honours


Managerial honours

United States Women
Sweden Women


Managerial statistics

All competitive league games (league and domestic cup) and international matches (including friendlies) are included.

As of 8 June 2015
Hammarby IF Sweden 1992–199466331320050.00
Boston Breakers United States 2003211074047.62
Kolbotn Norway 200418918050.00
Örebro DFF Sweden 2005–200644161117036.36
United States women United States 2007–201210791106085.05
Sweden women Sweden 2012–3920811051.28
Career Total2951795066060.68


  1. 1 2 "Caps and goals". svenskfotboll.se.
  2. Chris Burke (5 October 2010). "1984: Pia Sundhage". UEFA.com. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  3. http://www.postmuseum.posten.se/frimbas/frimarks/F1988042.asp
  4. "Fakta och meriter för medlemmarna i SFS Hall of Fame". SFS (in Swedish). Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  5. "New Coach for Women's U.S. Soccer Team". The New York Times. 14 November 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  6. U.S. coach Pia Sundhage steps down, ESPN.com. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
  7. U.S. Women's National Team Provides Head Coach Pia Sundhage with 6-2 Victory in Final Match in Charge Archived 28 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine ., ussoccer.com. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  8. "Sweden women's soccer coach quits following Olympic loss". Associated Press via foxnews.com.
  9. "Sundhage appointed Sweden coach". Associated Press via Yahoo! Sports.
  10. "Sundhage to be new Sweden coach". AFP via Yahoo! Sports.
  11. "Head coach Pia Sundhage of the U.S. Women's Soccer Team comes out". AfterEllen. 13 January 2010. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2011.