For 22 years Pia Sundhage represented the female Swedish national football team as a player. However, that is far from the most impressive facts about this legendary sports personality. She has medals from the the last three Olympics, in the last one the gold, with the US women’s soccer team. She is by far one of the most merited soccer coaches in the world. Now she just became the new head coach for the Brazilians women’s national soccer team, bem-vindos no Brasil!
Her sports merits are however still not the most impressive things about Pia Sundhage. Her humility, her very positive and enthusiastic way of leading, her way of making people grow, her way of creating a great context and strengthen the team spirit. I could go on for long, she is simply one of the greatest leaders I have had the pleasure to meet.
This all is the result from a great personality evolving as one of the backbones of Swedish, dare I say global female soccer, first as a player, then as a coach. Her coach journey started in Sweden with the classical set of organizational skills that we normally bring, but she soon added the energy and spirit from the US team and other experiences that today has resulted in a fully comprehensive toolbox that she makes work for her very well.
From personal experience I can tell that the combination of Swedish and Brazilian is great, to combine the structured and organized way of thinking with the more playful, spontaneous and action-oriented Brazilian approach has proven to be very effective. Allowing myself to become a bit philosophical I even imagine that this new female foreigner coach, in the holy sphere that is Brazilian soccer, might be a symbol that Brasil is opening up for international influences. This would unleash a lot of things, make both Brasil and Sweden more competitive in both sports and the business world. Do you agree, or am I only dreaming? The 5-0 win against Argentina in Pia Sundhage’s very first game is a great start and I have a feeling this is the kind of results we will be seeing.
By the way, did you also know that Pia sings really well? I am still contemplating what she shared with us, truly a great person and I have to say on of the most inspiring presentations I have ever seen. For those of you that think I am overreacting, follow this link to see for yourself. Thanks for sharing Pia Sundhage and SwedCham for organizing this great session. The sky is the limit!