What’s your favorite thing about working in soccer?
All the time, I am learning from coaching, like when playing a 4-3-3, what is it about the moment, how do you deal with it in the attack and defending, and so on? All my games are as a teacher. It’s fairly easy to be grateful for my career because, for me, I wasn’t allowed to play football, and now I’m coaching Brazil.

You’re a Head Coach. What were your top 3 priorities for World Cup preparations?
There’s a job to be done to make sure all of the players are updated, in the physical part and sometimes in the technical part, but not only that, you have to prepare for the long trip to Australia. Then you have the jet lag and to consider how we are going to train, what part of our game we need to improve, and what our strengths are. The best thing about this journey is, we’re going to prepare for success. I’ve been through this so many times, and it’s different every time. Preparing the US for the Olympics in 2008 is very different from preparing Sweden for the 2016 Olympics and now Brazil. You have to adjust. Whatever worked in 2008 with Carly Lloyd playing the ball into the net and so on is different with different players. I love it. We go through small details, big things, formations, and player tactics. We have A plans, B plans, and C plans for when we get to Australia. I have a fantastic job.

What are some of the challenges you face in your role? How do you overcome it?
Women’s soccer in Brazil has organizational challenges. It’s a big country. As you know, you have to start somewhere and start with one team. So an example is, I come from Sweden, where it is very organized. U15 national team, U16 national team, and so on. Right now, Brazil doesn’t have a U15 team. They have a U17 team, and we have a U20, and we have the top team. So, I say, in this big country [Brazil] where we have so much talent, if we can find the structure and organization to support those girls, we can talk about achieving big dreams. So, organization is one of the biggest challenges in finding the power to make a change.

What advice would you give someone who wants to become a Head Coach in the soccer industry?
After I got the call in 2008 to coach the best team in the world, I hung up the phone and said, ‘Okay, I’m going to coach the best team in the world. Well, how am I going to do that?’ And my sisters said, ‘You know what, don’t take yourself so seriously because you take the flight to Frankfurt, L.A., and if it doesn’t work, you just go back, and you have your family.’ I think it’s important for ALL of us to say yes. We try to do our best, and maybe it’s not 100%, but at least you have a chance to gain that experience. And that is why I’m coaching Brazil now. I said yes, and I’m figuring it out.

What impact do you think more women and unrepresented folks working in soccer will have on equity in the industry?
When it comes to industry positions, and we talk about diversity, I like to create my staff, both men and women. In the beginning, it was very difficult because we were provided with more men in coaching. Nowadays, I think I have more women than men on staff; that mix, I love it. I think it will bring the best of all.


Click to watch this Brandi’s Corner exclusive interview with Pia Sundhage. In the video, former World Cup champion Brandi Chastain sits down with Pia to discuss Brazil’s current squad, her experience as the former USWNT head coach, and the changes she’s seen across her lifetime in the women’s game. Plus, Brandi and Pia dive into the importance of striving for equal treatment alongside the fight for equal pay.

This WWC23 Starting XI Behind The Teams spotlight is brought to you by Women in Soccer in partnership with Talisman & Co.