On Dec. 5 the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce-Greater Los Angeles, SACC-GLA, will be hosting the 22nd Eliason Award dinner, where the Eliason Merit Award 2009 will be given to soccer great Pia Sundhage. The dinner reception in Sundhage’s honor will take place at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles.
SACC-GLA has announced Pia Sundhage as the Eliasson Award recipient 2009
Pia Sundhage is arguably one of the best female soccer players of all time. In fact, she is the top goal scorer on the Swedish National Team (71 goals in 146 games) and in 2000 she placed sixth as FIFA Woman Player of the Century. Born in the small town of Ulricehamn in western Sweden, Sundhage played in a string of club teams such as Jitex and Hammarby, and with the national team she won the European Championship 1984 and came in third in the World Cup 1995.
Having turned to coaching, Sundhage coached both Swedish and American club teams before a stint as the assistant coach for the Chinese Women’s National Team. In 2007 she was offered the position as U.S. women’s head coach, only the sixth person and first non-American to hold it. Her charge: Change the philosophy of the U.S. women's national team, revive a side troubled by internal dissension and deliver it from the long-ball tactics of previous coach Greg Ryan. In eight short months she did.
Greatly respected and liked by her players, Sundhage led the team to a gold medal in the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.
SACC-GLA awards this prize to a person who is or has been very active and proficient in his or her field and is someone who has worked to further the ties between Sweden and the U.S. The vote for this year’s recipient, Pia Sundhage, was unanimous, based on a long and successful career both in Sweden and abroad. Sundhage has consistently been respected and well liked among her teammates and the organizations she has worked for. She has thus been a wonderful representative for Sweden, and SACC-GLA is very proud to present Pia Sundhage with the Eliason Merit Award.