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Sundhage contract extended through 2012 Olympics

CHICAGO -- U.S. women's soccer coach Pia Sundhage received a four-year contract extension through the 2012 Olympics after leading the Americans to the gold medal at this year's Beijing Games.

"Pia has demonstrated the qualities of a great leader, a great soccer tactician and she is a winner," U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said in a statement Monday.

Sundhage replaced Greg Ryan last November after the team finished third at the 2007 World Cup. Ryan made a contentious decision to switch goalkeepers for the semifinal, which the Americans lost. Sundhage originally received a one-year contract with a four-year USSF option.

Under Sundhage, the team has gone 33-1-1, including a penalty-kicks victory over Canada in the final of Olympic qualifying in the North and Central American and Caribbean region. The U.S. team won its third Olympic gold medal, defeating Brazil 1-0 in the final on Carli Lloyd's goal in the sixth minute of overtime.

"We've done so many things in a short amount of time and been successful so far," Sundhage said. "The reason it is so exciting to continue with this team is that I can see the potential. Last January, we started talking about keeping possession and finding the rhythm and I think we've done a pretty good job so far. But these next steps will be about going into the attacking third and being even more unpredictable, playing more beautiful soccer and scoring more goals."


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