Tom Sermanni, previously Australia's coach, has been hired to coach the U.S. women's soccer team. He replaces Pia Sundhage, who stepped down after guiding the Americans to two Olympic gold medals.

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Sermanni is hired to coach

top-ranked U.S. women

Tom Sermanni, who has spent the last eight years as Australia’s coach, was hired Tuesday as coach of the U.S. women’s team.

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Sermanni, a 58-year-old from Glasgow, Scotland, replaces Pia Sundhage. Sundhage stepped down after leading the Americans to back-to-back Olympic gold medals and their first World Cup final in 12 years. She left to coach in her native Sweden.

The United States is rated No. 1 in the world, eight spots ahead of Australia.

Sunil Gulati, U.S. Soccer Federation president, said of Sermanni: “He has the knowledge, experience and vision to take on the challenge of keeping our team at the top of the world.”

Sermanni was selected after a five-person search committee that included former standout player Mia Hamm considered more than 30 candidates.

“U.S. Soccer has always been at the forefront of supporting the women’s game, and it’s exciting to coach the team in this next chapter of its history,” Sermanni said.

Sermanni’s first day on the job will be Jan. 1. Jill Ellis will continue serving as U.S. interim coach through the end of this year.

Arsenal wins a thriller

Arsenal of the English Premier League staged a stunning comeback at second-tier Reading, overcoming a 4-0 first-half deficit and winning 7-5 after extra time to advance to the League Cup quarterfinals.

Theo Walcott scored three goals for Arsenal, including the winner in the first minute of stoppage time.

College basketball

Griner leads All-Americans

Brittney Griner, a 6-foot-8 senior from Baylor, became the third player to be a two-time unanimous choice on the Associated Press women’s preseason All-America team, receiving all 40 votes from a national media panel.

Griner joined former Connecticut standout Maya Moore and Duke great Alana Beard in that select club.

Seniors Elena Delle Donne of Delaware and Skylar Diggins of Notre Dame were also on all 40 ballots. Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike (23 votes), Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas (19) and Baylor’s Odyssey Sims (19) rounded out the squad.

Griner averaged 23.2 points, shot nearly 61 percent from the field and blocked five shots a game as a junior to lead Baylor to a 40-0 record and the NCAA title.


McIlroy to leave Acushnet

Rory McIlroy, ranked No. 1 in the world, will be a free agent when it comes to equipment.

McIlroy and Acushnet Co., which has supplied the 23-year-old from Northern Ireland with Titleist and FootJoy gear since he turned pro five years ago, said they will not extend their relationship after this year.

The announcement allows McIlroy to pursue a lucrative endorsement contract, with strong indications he will sign with Nike in a deal one industry observer estimated at $20 million a year. Tiger Woods, a 14-time major champion who is ranked second in the world, is also with Nike.

Nick Faldo, who won six majors in his career, said on Golf Channel that McIlroy is taking a risk by changing equipment at such a young age.

“I call it dangerous,” Faldo said.


• Locked-out NHL players are expected to get back last season’s escrow payment Wednesday.

According to a union spokesman, players are set to be given 7.98 percent of what they earned last year, plus interest, on the day they were to have received their second paycheck of the currently delayed season.

• The Czech Republic’s hockey federation has fined the Chomutov Pirates $1,554 after its fans aimed racist chants toward Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds, 24, on Sunday.

Simmonds, who is black, is playing for the Liberec White Tigers in the top Czech league during the NHL lockout.

• General manger Kelly Krauskopf of the WNBA champion Indiana Fever has a new title — team president. She has been the team’s chief operating officer since 1999, when the team was founded.

Rachael Flatt, the 2010 U.S. figure-skating champion and a 2010 Olympian, will sit out the rest of the season with a right-leg injury.

Flatt, 20, a Stanford sophomore, said she is “saddened that I will miss out on this season, but I feel it is my responsibility to take care of my general well-being.”

• The International Softball Federation has approved a resolution to merge with baseball’s governing body as part of a combined bid for the sports to return to the Olympics in 2020.

Both sports made their last appearance at the 2008 Beijing Games.

• Former Louisiana State quarterback Jordan Jefferson reported to a Louisiana jail after a judge revoked his bond in a 2011 simple battery case.

The judge’s action came after Jefferson, 22, was arrested last week with three other ex-players whom Baton Rouge police say they found with marijuana in an apartment.

After his LSU career, Jefferson made the practice squad of the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.

• Arizona State senior Jake Balsiger and card pros Greg Merson of Laurel, Md., and Jesse Sylvia of Las Vegas are the last three players with a chance at the $8.53 million first prize in the World Series of Poker main event in Las Vegas.

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