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April Heinrichs to Resign as Head Coach of U.S. Women's National Soccer Team

CHICAGO (February 15, 2005) — U.S. Women’s National Team head coach April Heinrichs has announced she is resigning from her position at the helm of the most successful women’s soccer program in the world but will remain with U.S. Soccer through 2005. The decision comes a little more than five months after Heinrichs led the United States to a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.

“There were a number of goals when I first stepped into this position five years ago,” said Heinrichs, “and I think as a group we’ve done a wonderful job of meeting those goals and laying the foundation for the future of our women’s program. It was certainly gratifying to capture the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics, but it is equally gratifying to know that the future is so bright for the talented young players that are moving up through our system. No one is a national team coach forever and for me personally, this is the right time to step away.  For the program moving forward, there is enough time for a new coach to prepare for the next Women’s World Cup and Olympics.”

A search for a successor will begin immediately, but no timetable has been set for a decision on the hiring of the team’s next coach. Current U.S. Women’s National Team assistant coaches Greg Ryan and Phil Wheddon will coach the team in the interim.

Heinrichs will stay at U.S. Soccer through the remainder of 2005 as a consultant and will work with the Federation through the transition period on women’s programming and the process by which a new head coach will be hired.

“I think so highly of April Heinrichs that it was not easy for me to accept her resignation,” said U.S. Soccer President Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia. "Through her five years on the job, the program has grown tremendously, which is born out through the strong results that have been achieved. As for her successor, a search will begin immediately."

In five years at the helm of the U.S. Women’s National Team, Heinrichs compiled an impressive 87-17-20 record, a .782 winning percentage and triumphantly led the United States to the 2004 Olympic gold medal in Greece. She was also the head coach for the USA’s third-place finish at the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003 and the team’s silver medal performance in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. With a record 124 games at the helm of the U.S. WNT, Heinrichs was also the first coach to guide the team to an Algarve Cup championship, winning the annual tournament in Portugal three times.