USA's first World Cup-winning coach excited about former pupil Wiegman leading Netherlands to final

By Sports Desk July 05, 2019

Anson Dorrance led the United States to their first Women's World Cup triumph in 1991, but one of his former players is out to end the American dominance this Sunday.

Netherlands coach Sarina Wiegman spent one year with Dorrance's hugely successful North Carolina team in 1989 and called playing alongside United States greats like Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Shannon Higgins "a football paradise".

Wiegman recently said "my dream from that moment was to see the same situation back home", a wish that can be fulfilled this weekend if the Oranje defeat defending champions USA in Lyon.

Split loyalties would leave some conflicted, but Dorrance, who also coached current USA stars Crystal Dunn and Tobin Heath, cannot wait for the contest.

"Having Sarina in the final against my own country it's, 'God, take me now, it's never going to get better than this'," long-time North Carolina coach Dorrance told Omnisport.

"I'm getting these text messages from everyone saying, 'It doesn't matter what happens, you're going to be celebrating something'. And to some extent that's true.

"I do really admire what Sarina has done. For me, this is a wonderful World Cup final."

Wiegman had been at a FIFA invitational international tournament in 1988 when Dorrance approached her over the possibility of coming to America.

The state of the game in her country meant she thought playing "at a good level was literally impossible", but the midfielder went on to become the first Netherlands international – male or female – to win 100 caps.

"She was playing with American national team royalty in Kristine Lilly and Mia Hamm," Dorrance recalled.

"She had all the qualities of someone who was brought up in a wonderful soccer culture.

"Everyone really liked her. I felt privileged to coach her."

That positive impression was backed up by Higgins – now Higgins-Cirovski – who would feature when Dorrance's USA team beat Norway in the first ever World Cup final in 1991.

"She was a really good player, very smart, very technical - a student of the game - just intelligent," Higgins-Cirovski said of Wiegman.

"She was an absolute sweetheart. She was highly competitive - we all were, but she had a really good way about her."

Wiegman began a career in teaching upon returning home, but took a coaching post for the newly formed domestic league in 2007 and never looked back – permanently taking the Netherlands job a decade later and guiding them to European Championship success on home soil later that year.

Now she stands on the brink of leading her country to back-to-back major tournament titles as she aims to dethrone the nation where Dorrance gave her such a fine football education.

"It's not a strange feeling at all – it's a joyous one. It's like you've got two kids playing on opposite teams in a World Cup final, you root for both of them," Dorrance added of Sunday's final.

"The fact I've got Sarina coaching the Dutch... if the Dutch do happen to win, the pain of seeing my country losing will be a lot less, I promise you."

Related items

  • A-League Review: Wanderers woes continue, Berisha bamboozles Mariners A-League Review: Wanderers woes continue, Berisha bamboozles Mariners

    Perth Glory piled further pressure on Markus Babbel with a 1-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers at Bankwest Stadium on Sunday.

    Bruno Fornaroli's deflected finish in the sixth minute condemned the Wanderers, who have won just once since October, to a third successive A-League loss.

    Kwame Yeboah looked to have eased under-fire boss Babbel's concerns when he wheeled away in celebration of a second-half equaliser, but the goal was disallowed after a VAR review found the attacker had used his arm to divert home Daniel Georgievski's wayward shot.

    Perth were otherwise largely untroubled en route to a club-record sixth consecutive victory, the result lifting them within two points of second-placed Melbourne City and leaving Western Sydney languishing in ninth.

    Western United earlier ended a three-match winless streak as Besart Berisha's brace set up a routine 3-0 win over Central Coast Mariners at GMHBA Stadium.

    Star striker Berisha gave the fast-starting hosts a sixth-minute lead when he brilliantly headed in Alessandro Diamanti's cross.

    Central Coast defender Kye Rowles conceded an own goal for the second match in succession before Berisha scored again in the 21st minute, the 34-year-old converting at close range after Max Burgess weaved his way to the byline.

    The Mariners minimised the damage after the interval but failed to repeat last weekend's come-from-behind upset of Melbourne Victory, slumping instead to a third defeat in four games.

  • Rumour Has It: PSG to make huge offer for Man City boss Guardiola Rumour Has It: PSG to make huge offer for Man City boss Guardiola

    Manchester City without Pep Guardiola?

    Speculation over Guardiola's future is not going away, with Premier League champions City set to be dethroned by Liverpool this season.

    And a move to Paris Saint-Germain could be on the cards…

     

    TOP STORY – PSG PREPARE MAMMOTH GUARDIOLA OFFER

    French champions Paris Saint-Germain are trying to lure Pep Guardiola from Manchester City, according to the Express.

    Amid uncertainty over Guardiola's future, the Ligue 1 holders are ready to make a huge offer to tempt the City manager to Paris.

    Guardiola, whose side appear set to finish some distance behind Liverpool in the Premier League, has also been linked with a return to Barcelona, despite their appointment of Quique Setien this week.

     

     

    ROUND-UP

    - According to The Mirror, Premier League leaders Liverpool and rivals Chelsea will battle it out for RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner.

    - Juventus midfielder and former Liverpool star Emre Can is wanted by Everton, reports The Mirror. Can is out of favour in Turin and has been previously linked to Manchester United.

    - Il Corriere dello Sport claims Sevilla want to sign Inter midfielder Matias Vecino, who appears destined to leave Milan ahead of Christian Eriksen's reported arrival from Tottenham.

    - Speculation over Bruno Fernandes' future is set to drag on. Although he has been tipped to join United, Sporting CP and the Red Devils are reportedly miles apart in their valuations of the captain. While United want to bring in Fernandes this month, the Standard says they are threatening to abandon their pursuit over fears it could damage Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's transfer plans at the end of the season. Over-paying for Fernandes has prompted concerns it could impact United's interest in Leicester City star James Maddison and Borussia Dortmund teenager Jadon Sancho.

    Real Madrid are unwilling to loan out James Rodriguez, with Marca reporting the LaLiga giants are only interested in selling the Colombia international.

  • Australian Open 2020: Barty grounded amid heightened expectations in pursuit of home slam Australian Open 2020: Barty grounded amid heightened expectations in pursuit of home slam

    After a quarter-final run at the 2019 Australian Open, a lot has changed for Ashleigh Barty but it is business as usual for the world number one in Melbourne.

    Australian star Barty arrives at Melbourne Park for her home grand slam as the WTA Tour's top-ranked player and the reigning French Open and WTA Finals champion.

    Barty became the first Australian to win the Roland Garros singles title since Margaret Court in 1973 and the first Australian to claim a major singles title since Sam Stosur's 2011 US Open triumph.

    Her memorable 2019 exploits have heightened expectations in Melbourne, where all eyes are on the top seed ahead of her opening match against Lesia Tsurenko.

    However, Barty's coach Craig Tyzzer told Omnisport: "There's more expectations on her, but she knows she has to go out there and compete every day, do her best. The result takes care of itself. If she's able to do that and keep focused on that stuff, she'll do some damage."

    "The pre-season was pretty strong," Tyzzer said. "Ash put a lot of effort it. She's particularly fussy and a bit of a perfectionist anyway, so it kept her on edge a bit more knowing 'okay well I've got a responsibility here as well'.

    "It's been good. We know what's coming but we will treat everything pretty much the same with regard to how we approach her matches."

    "Slams are so hard to win over the two weeks, being healthy and playing well all the time," he continued. "Her expectations are that every match is going to be tough. She's pretty ready for the battle, and hopefully she can go deep into the tournament."

    Barty is fresh off a 57-13 season on the WTA Tour – a year which yielded four titles from six finals in Miami, Paris, Birmingham and Shenzhen.

    The 23-year-old claimed the biggest winner's cheque in tennis history after collecting $4.42million thanks to her WTA Finals victory over Elina Svitolina in November.

    "I think her consistent level of play," Tyzzer said when asked about anything specific that helped Barty make such an impact last year. "There weren't many ups or downs. There weren't really super highs or big drop offs. I felt like over the 12 months her level was very consistent.

    "There were a few times where she was tired after long periods of time. We could see that kind of stuff coming, so we controlled that fairly well with breaks and then build up again to the next tournament block. Her ability to play at a good level throughout the whole year was probably the biggest factor, I know there were other areas."

    Barty's success saw Tyzzer – who has worked with the Queenslander since she returned to the sport in 2016 after a cricket stint – recognised as the WTA Coach of the Year.

    But Tyzzer and countrywoman Barty are refusing to stand still in pursuit of further glory.

    "There's certainly areas where she can get better. We've been working through the summer on her transitioning, try to get into the net more and get in behind her good shots. She sees it well in doubles but probably doesn't see it as well in singles yet. So that's probably one of the areas I'd like her to spend time on," he added.

    "You can never sit still in the sport. If you sort of stop and feel like you've done everything and you're not going to improve then someone else is going to run over the top of you pretty quickly."

    "We're doing a lot more work on her strength and speed, movement around the court," Tyzzer said. "Putting in a lot of time on returning, trying to make that better as well. As a coach, you're always looking for improvements, but you also have to acknowledge the good stuff and continue to encourage what she's done well. She's put good results together, so you don't want to make drastic changes just for the sake of changing.  You have to be careful with that stuff too."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.