Tuesday, October 23, 2007

ATH: Ryan fired

From the National Team Players Association -- boo hiss

Ryan Out As Women's Coach
WASHINGTON DC (October 22, 2007) USSoccerPlayers

Greg Ryan has been dismissed as coach of the US Women’s Team, US Soccer Federation Sunil Gulati announced today.

Speaking to journalists via teleconference, Gulati said that Ryan’s contract, which expires at the end of 2007, would not be renewed, and that a new coach will be appointed “within 30-45 days, if not sooner.”

Gulati will be joined by former Women’s Team captain Mia Hamm, and USSF Secretary General Dan Flynn in the process to review candidates and select a new coach. He said the nominee will be “someone who’s coached at the highest level, and been successful at the highest level,” and that it would also be “hard for anyone with no experience of the US game to be considered.”

Asked if Ryan’s dismissal was down to the his decision to drop goalkeeper Hope Solo for the World Cup semifinal game against Brazil, Gulati said that the Federation “considered everything, principally from the last 45 days,” but also from the past two years. But he declined to point to any one factor behind Ryan’s departure.

Solo remains part of the team, and any discussion about her future “will be up to the new coach.”

Gulati also mentioned that while Ryan’s record in charge had been “very good” in terms of win percentages, the World Cup in China had caused the Federation to think about “a number of different reasons” why the team hadn’t performed up to scratch. That included a review of games that the team had won or tied, not just the Brazil defeat.

“We do bring a different level of expectation to the women’s program [compared with the men’s],” Gulati said. “The expectations are much higher. The expectation is that we’ll be competing for a gold medal.”

He also denied that the US women’s program had fallen behind Germany’s, but said “once you’re in the top five, what it takes to stay even is pretty demanding.”

Had the US style been out-trumped by the skill of the Brazilians in China? Gulati replied that while the Brazilians were “technically very gifted,” they hadn’t yet won a gold medal.

Gulati declined to discuss individual candidates for the post, because some of them are currently in paid positions. He also said that current players would be consulted as part of the process.

Asked about Hamm’s involvement in the selection of a new coach, Gulati said they wanted player involvement, but that it was thought best to choose a player no longer on the team. The group was kept deliberately small due to the time constraints, and the need to appoint a candidate swiftly ahead of the coming Olympic year.

Ryan was told of his dismissal Sunday. Flynn said Ryan had been “very thankful” for the opportunity to coach the Women’s Team, but also “disappointed” he wouldn’t have the chance to chase the Olympic Gold.

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