Sermanni, 58, has some experience with American players, having worked in the first defunct pro league, Women’s United Soccer Association, as an assistant in San Jose and head coach in New York in 2003.
He will begin his U.S. tenure on Jan. 1.
“He has the knowledge, experience and vision to take on the challenge of keeping our team at the top of the world,” USSF President Sunil Gulati said in a prepared statement. “He has a tremendous passion for the game, knows the American players, understands our system and knows the process of preparing a team for a World Cup tournament.”
Sermanni is the second consecutive foreign coach to lead the U.S. program after 22 years of American stewardship.
He succeeds Pia Sundhage, a Swede who guided the U.S. team to two Olympic gold medals and a second-place finish at the 2011 Women’s World Cup during a five-year reign. She returned home this fall to guide the Swedish national team.
Australia has participated in the past five Women’s World Cups, advancing to the quarterfinals in both 2007 and ’11. The Matildas are ranked ninth in the world by FIFA.
The Americans are halfway through a gold medal tour with three victories and two draws. They defeated Australia twice: 2-1 in Carson, Calif., and 6-2 in Commerce City, Colo.
Their opponent for the next two matches is Ireland: Nov. 28 in Portland, Ore., and Dec. 1 in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale. China is the likely foe in the last three games.
News of Sermanni’s move was first reported by thewomensgame.com, an Australian Web site.