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Ryan Out as Women's Coach

No surprise.

The U.S. Soccer Federation has decided to not renew women's national team coach Greg Ryan's contract, which expires at the end of the year. A search for a replacement will begin immediately, USSF President Sunil Gulati said. Ryan guided the team to a 51-game unbeaten streak, but at last month's World Cup in China, the Americans labored throughout the tournament and suffered a 4-0 semifinal loss to Brazil, the worst setback in their 22-year history.

Ryan's stunning decision to replace No. 1 goalkeeper Hope Solo with veteran Briana Scurry on the eve of the Brazil match was widely criticized by media and fans, and triggered a bitter postgame response from Solo.

Gulati said the search committee will include himself, USSF Secretary General Dan Flynn and former superstar Mia Hamm. He plans to complete the process in 30 to 45 days.

By Steve Goff  |  October 22, 2007; 3:59 PM ET
Categories:  Women  
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Comments

A little justice for a change. Just bring in someone who knows how to coach for Pete's sake. There are enough good coaches out there, male or female. It sure would be nice to have someone who has coached it a very high level, though.

Anyway, good decision by US Soccer.

Posted by: Hacksaw | October 22, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Ding dong, the dummy is gone. Good riddance.

Posted by: truth | October 22, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Ryan went 45-1-9. And gets fired :)

Posted by: RK | October 22, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Just hire Hamm and see what she can do.

Posted by: KP | October 22, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Mia is on the committee

this is bad. need to clear out the 99ers.

we need a brand new direction, with no ties to the old clic.

the old clic needs to go.

Posted by: vasco | October 22, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that Gulati can find a new WNT coach in 30-45 days and takes almost a year to get a permanent coach for the MNT?

Posted by: Adam C. | October 22, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

The 91-ers are not the problem. Ryan was hired as a direct slap to the last World Cup team -- led by 91-ers Chastain, Hamm and Foudy -- going to the federation to have their incompetent coach Heinrichs fired. Dr. Bob fired Heinrichs and foisted Ryan -- Heinrichs assistant -- on the team.

Ryan, Dr. Bob's chosen one, made his first step getting rid of 91-er Brandi Chastain who was outspoken about Heinrichs limitations. Ryan kept 91-er Lilly who obviously a) is not outspoken, just not her personality, and b) went along with the bizarre punishment and banning of Solo for stating the obvious: Ryan made a terrible decision to replace her with Scurry. Lilly also went along with Ryan's 80s tactics of bootball. A true captain would speak up and say: That's not the modern game. That's the losing game, and we got 4-0 Brazil over USA in the World Cup as a result.

I'm happy to see Mia Hamm on the selection committee. She's a smart woman. She's not going to vote for a mediocre college coach to take over her legacy.

Posted by: truth | October 22, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

From a purely results-based point of view, this is unfair. Never thought I would defend Greg Ryan but how do you fire a guy that went 45-1-9? Either he's been playing scrubs to pad his record (and why didn't Gulati say something then) or the USSF is basing personnel decision on polls?

Posted by: Bart | October 22, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Does Mia Hamm's inclusion on the search committee put Gabarra in the lead? DiCicco?

Discuss.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 22, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Ryan went 45-1-9. And gets fired :)

Posted by: RK | October 22, 2007 04:14 PM

---

You'll have to realize that the US women are held to a much different standard than the men.

For the men, it's "Get out of our group and celebrate!"

But for the women, its, "Win the cup or bust."

As great as his record is, if you can't win with the title on the line, it doesn't matter how many times you can beat the pulp out of a third world women's team.

Posted by: James | October 22, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Don't you suppose there could be reasons between a win-loss record and polls? I hope no one tries to spell it out again since it's been covered to death. Just review some of Goff's earlier blogs for a bit of revelation.

Posted by: seahawkdad | October 22, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

About time they get rid of the idiot....

If you want a parallel, it will be like Jayson Campbell leading the Redskins to a playoff game (LOL like that's going to happen this year)...then Gibbs decide to start Brunell in the playoffs because he's had prior experience in playoffs.

That's what Ryan did when he benched Hope Solo.

Now can the US soccer also fire Gibbs from the Redskins?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 22, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

the WNT's record is not the measure of a team that is expected to be the best team in the world. The USSF relies on the WNT to carry the torch of Women's soccer, impress at all times and WIN MAJOR TOURNAMENTS.

I don't know about you other people, but I could care less how many times the WNT beats Guatemala in friendlies 5-0. Because too many of the women don't play professionally (not their fault, new pro league in US to start in '09), the national team plays as many friendlies as possible (the MNT used to do this too). They don't matter.

If a team doesn't perform on the largest scale possible (Women's World Cup) up to the standards expected (and set by the '99 team), you fire the coach - the coach picks the team.

Posted by: Josh | October 22, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Good bye Ryan, good luck to you. After an entire tournament where he made bad coaching decisions one after the other, I am glad to see him go. The WNT needs a shake-up and a new leader to reintegrate the team, move on to something new, and advance the women's game. China showed the US Women have the athleticism, but there is a lot missing from the way they play the game. They need someone who can teach them the technical side of the game in a way that combines the US Women's athletic strength with technical gifts. They may never have the Brazilian technical skill, but drill a little more than just lobbing the ball across the midfield to Abby Wambach. Ryan had a good record, but when it actually counted he showed that he could not manage an important tournament to save his life. Good luck Ryan, your gonna need it.

Posted by: T. Henry | October 22, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Hamm's inclusion on the committee puts the best candidate in the lead. The woman has intense integrity and is a long-time, keen student of the international game. If anything, her past history with Gabarra works against his selection - they didn't have the smoothest relationship when he was ineptly coaching the Freedom.

Posted by: left coast | October 22, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"Ryan went 45-1-9. And gets fired :)"

Wow...What exactly was he smoking before the Brazil game because even with that incredible record, that one loss makes this decision seem fair.

Posted by: BK | October 22, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I heard Klinsmann is interested.

Posted by: jgildea | October 22, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

* Agree about major tournaments being the yardstick. And US under Ryan lost Algarve to Germany on PKs. A small but important asterisk to the "one loss" record.

* Excluding the 99-ers (or 91-ers) from the process would be folly. Giving them a veto would also be folly. They've earned the right publicy to express their opinions, even though sometimes discretion would suggest that they refrain.

* Mia Hamm is not a coach, and she is not married to a coach.

* A coaching change should energize the player pool leading up to Olympics selection, no?

Posted by: WNT fan | October 22, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

If anything, Mia being on the committee hurts Gabarra's chances. All of this proves, men and women aren't equal when it comes to the USSF. How long did it take for a permanent coach to be found for the USMNT? 30-45 days for the women? They can't even get the 60-90 days that we have come to expect from MLS. If ever there was a reason to not like Gulati, this is it. I hope he steps down.

Posted by: sitruc | October 22, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the earlier post that said "why not" Mia as the next coach. I don't care if she's a "99er." She's a feisty competitor who despises losing and won't tolerate anything less than maximum effort from every player on the WNT roster.

The 2007 team had several flaws, among them a complete lack of fire in the belly. I guarantee that will not happen if Mia Hamm is running the team.

Posted by: CMJ | October 22, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Thank god. The utter stupidity and gross tactical mistakes that Ryan made were shocking.

Ryan proceeded to play longball during the tournament. i counted 26 long balls...how many acutally connected to his target forward? count six. Then to attack, he changed the point of attack zero times.....everyone knows that with a 3-5-2 (which was Brazil's formation) you need to unbalance the flanks.....yet our team seemed hopelessly overmatched.

On top of that...to mess with your own team's mind prior to the Brazil match was the icing on the cake of ignorance.

Goodbye Gre Ryan, dont let the door hit you on the way out.

Posted by: DC United Fan | October 22, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Great. With Mia on the committe, we're guaranteed more Stepford Tar Heel/April/Anson clones. No change.

Posted by: Joe | October 22, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

At last. This team an entire makeover. Too many old, slow and thick players.

Posted by: numi | October 22, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

He had to go. That one loss was huge, and there was no way back from that.

I read this morning that Klinsmann is interested in the England job, if Steve McLaren is sacked.

Posted by: Deanna | October 22, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Women's soccer is boring anyway. Most of you are living in the past. BTW, our men's team isn't worth a lick either.

Posted by: Love Real Soccer | October 22, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Beg to differ, Joe at 5:22. Mia worked behind the scenes to get rid of Heinrichs, and she had deep differences with Jim Gabarra - husband of her old friend/UNC & WNT teammate Carin - when he coached her (badly) on the Freedom. Unlike many of her teammates, Hamm has always followed international men's soccer, and understands the range of styles and tactics. If anything, her presence on the committee is the main mitigant against another incompetent coach, which - as Ryan showed - does not require a Tar Heel legacy.

Posted by: left coast | October 22, 2007 5:31 PM | Report abuse

"30-45 days for the women? They can't even get the 60-90 days that we have come to expect from MLS. If ever there was a reason to not like Gulati, this is it."

I don't think there's anything wrong with that -- in fact, it seems to me like it's an indication of how strong the pool of candidates is, or should be, anyway. The USWNT coaching job is one of the three or four best positions in the world (of women's soccer) -- any coach, anywhere, in the women's game would jump at the chance.

The US*M*NT coaching position, OTOH, is second-tier at absolute best, and probably 3rd- or even 4th-tier. It takes 60-90 days (or longer) because nobody wants to do it. It's not a matter of disrespecting the women -- it's exactly the opposite, in fact.

Posted by: jb | October 22, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

It's not the coach who lost the World Cup, it was the PLAYERS! The Brazilians were just better, played more tactically, and were far far better individually. The American's hoped to rely on size by playing longballs to Big-Abby Waumbach and hoping she could barrell through everyone. The U.S. doesn't have anyone, anywhere close to the level that Marta plays on and never has (including Mia Hamm). The whole controversy over benching the goalie is a joke. Did anyone see the goal that went through Solo's hands against North Korea? It was pathetic, as if she had Crisco on her gloves. If a Men's professional goalie had done that, he would have been benched in THAT game.

Posted by: Todd | October 22, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Finally!

Greg Ryan was a horrible coach.

Comments from Brandi Chastain and others who were there when Ryan was selected as coach indicate that he was the worst of all the possible candidates, and was selected only because he would do the bidding of the USSF and get rid of the very vocal old guard, who had a history of standing up to the USSF.

The only reason that he had that won-loss record was because the US WNT is the highest paid women's national team in the world, the only one that trains regularly together.

You could hire Bozo the Clown and probably do better than Greg Ryan (Bozo would probably just yuck it up with the team, keep them loose and happy, and let them just figure out how to play on their own, and let their natural talents shine through)

Mia hopefully will be true to her heritage as the purest of Anson Dorrance's "Personality Players", that Brazilian style which the current group can only watch wistfully.

Here's hoping that the USSF gets a great coach and revamps the entire program in less than a year - before the 2008 Olympics.

It doesn't take that long to get a good coach - there were several good coaches passed over during the last Greg Ryan selection process.

The reason that the Men's National Team coach selection took so long was the prolonged negotiations with Jurgen Klinsmann, which finally broke down. Klinsmann just made too many demands which the USSF ultimately could not stomach.

How about Klinsmann as WNT coach?!

If nothing else, he brought a much more organized brand of attacking soccer to the German men's team

Posted by: GP | October 22, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Klinsmann? Good Grief! While you're at it, why don't you mention Mourinho?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 22, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

RE: Solo's mistake against North Korea - it was raining - that wasn't Crisco on her gloves, it was water, lots of it. The North Korean goalie had earlier given up an identical goal that squirted through her gloves like a watermelon seed.

Replacing Solo with a goalie who had not played in more than one match in the last year, no matter what her credentials were, based on PRACTICE, is just totally STUPID.

Speaking of Men's National Team standards, no Men's National Team coach would ever do that - play a goalie in the World Cup who had not been the starting goalie for his club team.

Practice speeds and scenarios are never the same as game speeds and game pressures. Scurry made a number of mistakes in that Brazil game. Solo was right to be outraged at Ryan's idiocy.

Posted by: GP | October 22, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Remember that the USSF has a short list for women's coach from 3 years ago. New candidates don't emerge that quickly - one or two of last round's options will self-select out, and one or two who opted out in 04 will now be available. Hiring an interim coach to get the team through the Olympics is also a possibility, and may well be attractive to college coaches who will wrap their seasons in December.

Posted by: left coaster | October 22, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

first of all, ryan did not have a 51 game unbeaten streak. the team had in fact lost to the germans in the algarve cup final a year and a half ago.

secondly, the way the team handled the solo situation is clic'ish. banning a player because she complained about being benched? c'mon. what's next, they take away her allowance? yeah, she could have handled it a bit better, but no competitive player is going to be accepting of being bench, let alone a goalie who had a 300 min shutout streak entering the brazil game.

and the way ryan kept on focusing about solo's "mistake" and needing to apologize to the team... please, he should be the one to apologize for his incompetence.

sure he had an impressive record but the entire world cup was badly mishandled on his part and he should have been fired then rather than getting to stay on until the end of his contract.

Posted by: 1999 a distant memory | October 22, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

first of all, ryan did not have a 51 game unbeaten streak. the team had in fact lost to the germans in the algarve cup final a year and a half ago.

----------------

that game was a tie. all games that go into PKs are considered draws in the record books.

Posted by: Goff | October 22, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Distant 99,

Disagree about the team not supporting Solo. She broke the cardinal rule of team athletics -- leave it in the locker room. You can scream your lungs out to the coach's face, but do it to the media about the coach, and you're talking out of shop.

Plus, Solo wasn't just attacking Ryan, she was attacking her *teammate* in the media. That's absolutely, positively, not done. When that happens in the NFL, (Terrell Owens, I'm looking at you), you end up on another team or out of the league (Jeff George, anyone?).

Maybe you can get away with it in the NBA, where one player can sometimes make that kind of difference and thus theoretically be above the law ... but in a true team sport like football or, well, football, it's not just locker room poison, it's locker room death.

And to do it hours after the worst loss in WNT history? Yeah, she screwed up, and she screwed up bad. I agree with everything she said, and even I would have kicked her off the team for saying it the way she did.

Posted by: jb | October 22, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Also note that this announcement of Ryan's firing comes on the heels of the USWNT's very lackluster 1-1 draw with the Mexican Women's team.

Gulati probably finally realized that there is something seriously wrong with the team when the USWNT can't even beat a team they had crushed 5-1 and 4-0 just in the last two weeks while playing in front of their adoring home fans.

Mexico has a crappy women's team that didn't even make the World Cup.

All the USWNT had to do was show up and play hard, which they obviously didn't.

Properly motivating and getting a team in synch, THAT is the job of a coach. Greg Ryan was doing just the opposite of that.

Posted by: GP | October 22, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

As far as that 'no loss' record -- I agree we should think of that loss in the Algarve cup as a loss, regardless of how FIFA scores it.

That 'impressive' record record was largely compiled against 2'nd-rate teams.

And I'm glad others are noticing that boom-ball to Abbey was not the most productive style -- yes, she's a great player and 2'nd only to Michelle Akers in the rate of goal scoring but again, in the last 2 years that's been against inferior teams.

Whether Abbey-big or Lilly-small ... very few of the players would face-up and take-on w/ real pace. Even 'Lil seemed to be doing very little of that in the World Cup, and she's _great_ at it.

Things would get interesting when O'Reilly got the ball, turned, and took on defenders. When she was in the game.

I'm glad Mia is on the search committee -- she'll understands the slights USSoccer has inflicted on the women's team.

[Not wanting the team's psychologist to travel w/ the team to China ... How expensive does that money-saving move seem now ? Yeesh.]

Ultimately the coach reflects USSoccer and may reflect the faults and biases of that group. No coach can overcome that.

And the only thing USSoccer will do is hire someone who won't complain about USSoccer. That's not the players' fault.

Posted by: Fan w/ Strained Patience | October 22, 2007 6:24 PM | Report abuse

"It's not the coach who lost the World Cup, it was the PLAYERS! The Brazilians were just better, played more tactically, and were far far better individually."

Uhm, exactly what do you think the function of a coach IS? Cheerleader on the sidelines? Ryan set the style of play, and he basically sucks as a soccer coach. Obvious in his love of boomball. Of course the players lost the game. The team lost the game. The coach is responsible for the team. It's really not that hard to figure out, Todd.

Posted by: sm | October 22, 2007 6:30 PM | Report abuse

first of all, ryan did not have a 51 game unbeaten streak. the team had in fact lost to the germans in the algarve cup final a year and a half ago.

----------------

that game was a tie. all games that go into PKs are considered draws in the record books.


Posted by: Goff | October 22, 2007 05:58 PM

------------------------

It might be considered a draw in the record books, but the Germans took home the hardware, and the US didn't. I doubt the players would say they came away from Algarve "unbeaten" and for USSF to keep trumpeting "the streak" was always a little disingenuous, IMO. But he certainly didn't lose his job over Algarve.

Posted by: WNT fan | October 22, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Most of the games during the streak were against second rate teams, but Ryan treated them all the same. He did not use games against weak teams to experiment with different formations and strategies. He played Lilly and Wambach in almost all of those games, rather than benching them and seeing who else on the team can assume leadership and can produce goals in their absence.

The WNT's play in the World Cup reflected more than anything the priority Ryan gave the streak and his record as a coach over preparing the team to face really tough opponents in the sport's most important tournament.

Posted by: ho | October 22, 2007 6:41 PM | Report abuse

I would like to nominate myself for the position. My first order of business would be bringing the already man like Abby Wambach to the mens national team, in exchange for the alright woman like Landon Donovan. I feel the added speed to the womans team would be of great service, and the mens team would benefit from a competent striker.

Posted by: sean | October 22, 2007 6:51 PM | Report abuse

A couple of points. Mia as a possible coach of the WNT? It will never happen. Unless she has changed dramatically, Mia always struggled with leadership roles. She has herself commented on her life-long battle with shyness/speaking out. As the coach of the WNT, she would need to speak to the media far more regularly than she had to do as a star player. I just don't see her ever doing that.
On the Hope Solo matter, I will agree that she messed up and deserved to be benched for the 3rd place game. However, I will not agree that she deserved to be kicked off the team. I fully understand that you keep things in-house, her failure to do so warranted the benching. But in my opinion, when a player makes a mistake, you evaluate the entire relationship before doing something so drastic as to ban them. I think it is important to remember that she said all the right things after the decision was announced. She only said what she did after the semifinal match was over. Yes, there was still a game to be played and her comments were still inappropriate in their timing, but to ban her? Really?
Personally, when I first watched her infamous interview, I honestly did not take her comments about making those saves as an attack on Scurry. I took them as a statement of confidence in herself and a direct rebuke to the coach. Remember, Coach Ryan gave a specific reason for the switch, saying Brianna was better at reaction saves. So when Hope said she could make those saves, I believe she was responding to the coach. Obviously, others on the team took it differently and that is what Hope must respond to, not her intentions. But her intentions should be factored in before you decide one rash moment outweighs every other contribution you have made to the team.

Posted by: Thomas | October 22, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Would the U.S. have beaten Brazil if Greg Ryan called up Taylor Twellman?

Posted by: silentbob | October 22, 2007 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Sepp Blatter was right: "Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball... They could, for example, have tighter shorts."

Posted by: Sam Breckinridge | October 22, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

The USSF finally showed some sense. Greg Ryan, whatever his record, was a terrible tactician and coach. When Ryan chose to replace Solo with Scurry, because she "handled the Brazilian shots better", he showed his lack of confidence in his defense not his goal keeper. The move showed the WNT that Ryan didn't think that the USA could beat Brazil, and he was right, after he totally sabotaged their confidence.

Todd, you can't be serious about the Brazilian players? why because they were born in Brazil. A few months ago the Brazilians were written off, now they are on par with their men's team? Did anyone see that they didn't even show up for the Germany game, come on. The point is that the WNT team needs more individual skills as well as team skills, not that Brazil's women team play needs to be copied.

Let's get to the point, the reason the WNT lost in China. Poor coaching! Lily never showed up for the tournament! Without Waumbach, the USA would have been crushed. No possession play.

Finally, give Solo a chance back, she made a mistake, who hasn't especially with the crazy coaching move. One would hope the Team Captains went to Ryan and said what a stuipid move it was...one can hope. And Ms Scurry, in this case it was a shameful loss to Brazil.

Posted by: Steve | October 22, 2007 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if he had played Jozy like everyone wanted...oh wait, wrong coach.

Posted by: kebzach | October 22, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Out of all the possible replacements, I hope Gabarra is so far down the list that he'd have a better shot coaching the men's team then the women's. If you think Ryan made bizarre subs or played people out of positions, you ain't seen nothing yet. Gabarra is a terrible coach and the Freedom won the championship in spite of him.

Posted by: owendylan | October 22, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Leftcoast and Owen, you are absolutely correct.

Gabarra was a disaster....

If the Freedom did not have vastly superior players (and had a few breaks go their way), Gabarra would have cost them a championship.

Posted by: JSF | October 22, 2007 9:40 PM | Report abuse

I am glad to see this development - he came down on Solo like a middle school coach would have. This was a major bonehead managing error and a slap in the face to Solo; if she were a man, the spotlight would've been on Ryan to defend himself - but because she was a woman who violated the first rule of women's sports (Thou shalt not be anything less than 110% supportive of everything involving your team) she was made to look like a brat. It's not like benching TO, a wide receiver. It'd be like benching a starting pitcher or quarterback in an ALCS Game 7 or AFC championship game, then watching the replacement get lit up for 10 runs or 6 interceptions. A mistake of epic proportions that deserved to be called out. At least Solo got the last laugh - Ryan blew his career.

Posted by: Jay | October 22, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

You people are nuts. A coach is 45-1-9 and you boot him? I am sure the next coach will make you guys happy during his/her career. Will that coach be held to the same standard as Ryan?

Posted by: abc | October 22, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

1. Ryan's W-L tells us little. The USA is the ONLY nation that takes women's soccer seriously and supports it every year provides resources and organization. Yet despite that, we are now clearly third in the world and there's a decent sized gap between us, Germany and Brazil. We beat people in the off-years between WC's and we beat up on minnows.

2. Going into this WC, the complaints on the US Women were:
--who scores besides Wambach?
--can't score except for restarts.
Well, moving Lilly from midfield to forward created another scorer. But for 2 years, the USA has totally failed to find another goal scorer. And the USA has continued to fail to build a creative game or even a non-creative possession game. I don't care what your record is, you can't be impressed by how you see the US women play.

3. I'm not impressed by Chastain's criticism. She lost her job due to Ryan and her husband was a candidate for this job.

4. Hamm was a canny choice. She doesn't have the ax to grind like Foudy or Chastain and I don't think he's as likely to be as vocal or assertive as they would have been on the committee. Yet her presence allows those "girls of summer" to be represented so it mutes their criticsm of whomever the choice will be (and there will be a lot of criticism if a foreign coach is chosen).

5. Hamm as coach? I think people underestimate the need for some prior coach experience b/c of how the US women's program is organized (ie: long residency camps that call for more than just a tactical sense and good knowledge of the game--you need to be able to run an organization, pick administrative personnel, be detail oriented in addition to the coaching stuff).

6. I'm not so sold on people will strong experience in college soccer. It's produced a group of players that work hard, are athletic, have solid skills, don't play dainty soccer. But lack creative insight and fine touch on the ball. I don't want to indict with a broad brush here but having a winning record in college soccer isn't good enough for me--we need someone who has a great rep for teaching creative, skillful soccer.

Posted by: JoeW | October 22, 2007 10:47 PM | Report abuse

ABC: the only record that matters is the World Cup. Prettyy sure they could have kept Ryan and won another 50 games over the next two years, whoopee.

Posted by: Northzax | October 22, 2007 11:04 PM | Report abuse

"The whole controversy over benching the goalie is a joke. Did anyone see the goal that went through Solo's hands against North Korea? It was pathetic, as if she had Crisco on her gloves. If a Men's professional goalie had done that, he would have been benched in THAT game."

-------------------------

Really? I don't recall Perkins getting yanked after a similar gaffe against Chivas earlier this year...

Posted by: edgeonyou | October 22, 2007 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Here are my nominations for USWNT coaches:

Alf Ramsey, head coach
Jock Stein, assistant coach
Lev Yashin, goalkeeping coach

Wait a minute..you mean to tell me they're all dead? Never mind....

Then again, the USWNT looked dead in China, so maybe these guys might work....

Posted by: JD | October 23, 2007 2:44 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, I forgot to use the sarcasm tag in my last post, jb.

Posted by: sitruc | October 23, 2007 3:06 AM | Report abuse

Let's put the blame where the blame belongs - Greg Ryan is responsible for ALL of the U.S. WNT's current problems.

The coach is responsible for selecting the players and the game style that can play a winning style of soccer.

You don't have to have an amazingly talented group of players like the Brazilians to win. In fact, as the Germans demonstrated in the women's World Cup final, the Brazilian team had and always has had, serious weaknesses on defense.

So look at the German women's team. They are the model of what the U.S. should strive to become, sad to say, now that the U.S. women's team has lost whatever pioneering edge in women's soccer that it once had.

Watching the German women score their goals during the World Cup, I was impressed by how well constructed their offense was. Their offense was not built on personality players with a lot of fancy moves like Marta, it was built on having a lot of dedicated, hard working players that were superb at making very accurate short passes to each other. The great majority of the goals they scored were built on a series of simple basic soccer plays - wall passes, through passes, movement into space.

And they had a well constructed, tough, coherent defense, and an outstanding goalie in Angerer. Did anybody else notice that the Germans shut out EVERYBODY during the World Cup?

The only way you can do that is by maintaining solid ball control, to not let a creative player like Marta run wild like she did against the U.S.

I used to coach youth soccer, and it really was breathtaking to see how well the German offense coordinated with each other, and really impressive to see how well the German defense reacted to shut down the Brazilians.

Building a strong team through teamwork and a great goalie is how the German men's team has traditionally won their many World Cups. It is now clearly also how their Women's team is winning.

And this is where the job of the coach lies - to get his team to work on the drills and plays so that the team knows what it is supposed to do in order to maintain ball control and create scoring chances, to get the defenders to communicate with each other and the goalie so that horrible screw-ups like Chalupny's own goal don't occur.

So was it the fault of the players that the U.S. women's team lost? No, I don't think so.

For the amount of money they are getting paid (compared to the other women's National Team players) and the amount of year-round training that they undergo, this was really a very poor result.

You have to train the right way. You have to have the right players playing the right way.

If you train hard and do nothing but work on long balls, set pieces, and pump weights and other physical workouts, that's not going to win you the World Cup.

Good riddance to an idiot coach.

Posted by: GP | October 23, 2007 3:58 AM | Report abuse

GP: Chalupny didn't have an own goal, it was Osbourne. I can't prove it but I think Osbourne's own goal was a direct result of the US players being unbalanced by the goalie change and trying to do too much. I can't remember seeing a poorer decision to head the ball.

Posted by: Eugene | October 23, 2007 5:07 AM | Report abuse

As a coach of a girls U-12 team, I was disappointed by the performance of the WNT during the recent World Cup. As a team, we spent a number of evenings watching the TIVo'd game from earlier in the day. It is difficult trying to instill in younger players the importance of team play and ball control. Avoiding "boot-ball" (which seems to be the favorite type of play of my player's parents) is something I have been emphasizing for the last 2 seasons. Then to bring the team together to watch "the best in the world" play boot-ball was very disheartening. I have seen my team regress back to where we were a season and a half ago. And the chants of "boot it, boot it" now resound from the parents side-line once again.

Mr. Gulati, I implore you to find a coach that brings the WNT back to the status they once held and shows that they can also play "the beautiful game" beautifully

Posted by: EB | October 23, 2007 8:31 AM | Report abuse

AMEN, GP, AMEN. Why the fixation on the Brazilian women, who have never won a major title, when the Germans are back-to-back WWC winners and are clearly the best TEAM in the world right now? Is Prinz so much better than Wambach? Is Angerer so much better than Solo? I don't think so. Where's our Lingor? I feel we probably have many Lingors trapped in a bad system of play. "Finding a Marta" is not the answer. Develop your Lingor #10s in a sensible system and they will bring home gold in '08. US WNT beat Germany and Brazil in 04, they can do it again. It's not the players.

"To the well-being of the U.S. Frauenfussballs" Onward and upward. China '08.

Posted by: WNT fan | October 23, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Somethings to keep in mind when people speak of Ryan's record.

1. The US record of wins was bloated by playing alot of "friendlies" against second rate teams. Ryan himself did not have an exceptional coaching pedigree, prior to coaching the womens national team he was a virtual unknown with no exceptional record of success.
2. Ryan has the right as the coach to start Scurry, but he also must suffer the consequences if it failed.
3. Solo had no intention of speaking with anyone until the idiot PR person for the US team told a reporter who wanted to ask Solo a question, that the reporter should only ask questions of people "who actually played in the game". Solo went non-linear after that. The PR person should also be fired for incompetence. Imagine is he simply stood between the reporter and Ms. Solo and simply said "This is a difficult time for Ms. Solo and the team, we are all really disappointed and it would be best if we have some time to reflect on that."
4. Shunning a player thousands of miles away from home was an embarrassment to the United States. It did nothing to make Solo a better teammate, it did nothing except silence criticism of Ryan (or support for Solo) from the players, it did nothing to make the team better, and the performance against a weak Mexican team proved how badly the team was playing.
5. Ryan's preparation of the team (poor), his actions before and after the Brazil match where he fractured the unity of the team, and his shunning of a player (a shameful, spiteful and petty act) were all pretty good reasons to get rid of him.

Posted by: Big Foot | October 23, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Eugene, you are right that was Leslie Osborne who did the own goal. And yes, I do think that she was trying to do too much because of the goalie change. Scurry should have called her off though. It's one of those aggressive game situation things that you forget to do when you haven't played in a real match for months.

Also, Osborne had her head completely tucked down and was not looking at the ball at the final moment of contact. She hit the ball with the back part of the top of her head. Bad decision on her part, and very bad technique.

The U.S. team seemed to come unglued after that, and stopped generating any serious attacks.

The 1-1 tie to Mexico by report was more of the same - the U.S. team was dominated in the midfield and unable to generate any offense. Scurry was in goal again.

Poor Brianna. She really needs to hang them up, before all memory of her golden years become completely swamped by this current morass.

Posted by: GP | October 23, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

A lot of boot ball soccer starts from having defenders who do not have much in the way of ball control skills. They only have to lose the ball a few times close to the goal, creating scoring chances for the opponent, before the urge to "just boot it" overwhems them and their coach.

The U.S. women's team defenders were solidly unimpressive throughout the World Cup. Too slow, not enough ball control skills.

What tends to happen in the U.S., much like in Brazil, is that the best and most talented players end up as midfielders or forwards. Players who have spent their entire lives as defenders frequently are not the quickest or best ball handlers available.

But at the World class level, that's what you need in the defense - speed and ball handling skills.

I seem to vaguely remember that Joy Fawcett started out life as a forward or offensive midfielder, then was moved back to defense because she was so solid with her ball possession, and she had the defensive skills also.

That's what the U.S. Women's Team needs to do - start looking for a better group of defenders - probably converted forwards and midfielders.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 23, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

A couple of things. First, Hamm is not a candidate to become the next coach, precisely because she agreed to serve on the search committee. (Do you know how to say conflict of interest?) If they failed to find a coach after a couple of months, Hamm could withdraw from the search committee and make herself available as a candidate, but it probably won't come to that.

Second, with regard to Ryan's W/L record, we must remember that a decision to renew a coach's contract is like a decision on tenure and promotion at a university. It is not simply a reward for past performance. Rather, it is *prospective* in nature; i.e., it is an assessment of the likelihood that the candidate will be able to continue that level of performance in the future. Gulati and Co. may well have determined that Ryan had lost control of the situation, and that the prospects for Beijing and beyond were even worse than the third-place finish that the side managed to salvage in Shanghai. Further, not only did his team play "boot-ball," but he explicitly extolled that style on the record. Thus, going forward, he would not be the most credible exponent of a different style.

Posted by: Section 410 | October 23, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I seem to vaguely remember that Joy Fawcett started out life as a forward or offensive midfielder, then was moved back to defense because she was so solid with her ball possession, and she had the defensive skills also.
_________________________________________

Ditto for Chastain, Rampone, and probably others as well.

Posted by: Section 410 | October 23, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Great decision by the USSF to dump Ryan. This is one decision that will pay huge dividends in '08!! Next steps:
1. Put Solo back in goal. She is one of the top 3 keepers in the world.
2. New coach should keep Brett Hall as defensive asst. coach, the players credit him with a big portion of their 51 game win streak.
3. It's time for Lilly to bow out and let the Heather/Abby offense take off to a new level.
4. Churn some bench players and get better offensive mid field players.

Posted by: lman | October 23, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

First, Hamm is not a candidate to become the next coach, precisely because she agreed to serve on the search committee. (Do you know how to say conflict of interest?) If they failed to find a coach after a couple of months, Hamm could withdraw from the search committee and make herself available as a candidate, but it probably won't come to that.

----

I understand the point but don't see a big deal. Ultimately the search committee will "recommend" someone; they don't do the hiring, though. Hence, after all the deliberation by the committee USSF could still decide Mia Hamm is the one. No conflict of interest there.

Posted by: CMJ | October 23, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

The US defense was NOT the biggest problem in the World Cup. It was the coach and his stupid tactics. Christie Rampone had the tournament of her life, and for her to be criticized for the tactics her coach chose is ludicrous. The defense was playing his game -- control the ball and boot it to Abby. Go read Ryan's interview on FIFA.com where he says the long ball is now the modern game. What a maroon! He deserves every bit of stick he gets, and should move into a new profession, cause he doesn't coach the beautiful game. It was U-G-L-Y, you ain't got not alibi, ugly.

Posted by: truth | October 23, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Ryan got sacked. He made a mistake. Had it worked he would have been a freaking "genius". But it didn't, so he's an "idiot". He's the coach. His record was great but in the end, like some of you have already written--the standard for the women's team is very high. It's win it all.
The expeectations were clear when he was hired. It's a tough business.

I have lost respect for Hope Solo--I can't stand the sight of her. She was completely unporfessional and there was no justification for crying like a little girl. Just what US Soccer needs--another prima donna who's resume isn't as great as she thinks it is.

How many people were grilling her for giving up one of the softest goals that I have ever seen given up against North Korea? Some have. A lot of posters on message boards and people calling into to radio talk shows. Props to those of you who didn't forget about it.


I have supported this team since '95 and now, I have to seriously ask myself if I want to continue to support them. If they weren't my national team, the decision would be a lot easier for me. Coming 3rd was disappointing but I can sort of live with that. This whole soap opera has disgusted me.

I don't know if the fallout is step forward for women's sports or a step back. I still can't figure that out.

I didn't think that it was possible for me to lose much more respect for Gulati; I was wrong. The jury is still out on that one but right now, it's not looking to good.

This team lacks a creative midfielder and the individual skills are not to the level that they used to be

I want to see the team do well. I don't expect to win all of the time. Clearly that is our goal when we step on the field. It should be.

Posted by: yankiboy | October 23, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

That's what the U.S. Women's Team needs to do - start looking for a better group of defenders - probably converted forwards and midfielders.
---------------------------

That's crazy talk. WNT have the 2d best back line in the world (Germany 0 goals allowed). Rampone may be the best in the world at her position. Mitts will be back. Markgraf is certainly still strong. Chastain, Rampone, Mark Burch -- aren't they they exceptions? Do you think Cannavaro was a forward? You need a special mentality to play back there (IMO) and not all mids, and especially not all forwards, have it. It's like being a corner back in helmetball. Just because you are a great athlete doesn't mean you have that mentality.

Posted by: WNT fan | October 23, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

My criticism of the style of play (boot-ball) was not directed at the players themselves (at least not fully). The style of play is dictated by the coach and staff. However, as a coach I do look to certain players for input and suggestions. Should not then some of the "star" players voiced the opinions/suggestions to the coach prior to the World Cup as to the style and method of play?
There are certainly players on the team that remember creativity and ball-control.

Posted by: EB | October 23, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I have lost respect for Hope Solo--I can't stand the sight of her. She was completely unporfessional and there was no justification for crying like a little girl. Just what US Soccer needs--another prima donna who's resume isn't as great as she thinks it is.
__________________________________________

This may be true so far as it goes. But why would you define a human being by her behavior during 30 seconds of a life of 26 years and counting?

Posted by: Section 410 | October 23, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

This may be true so far as it goes. But why would you define a human being by her behavior during 30 seconds of a life of 26 years and counting?
-------------------------------------------
Section 410, your question is a fair and reasonable one.

It was more than 30 seconds. She acted like a baby before the game, while she was on the bench she simmered and then she lost her any semblence of professionalism or being a good team mate. She wasn't the first person to be the "victim" of an ill-advised coaching decision. It happens everyday. On arguably bigger stages.

I got over the Harkes-Sampson-USMNT debacle that was known as France 98. I didn't want to see Harkes, Sampson, Lalas or some of the other participants in that soap opera for a while either. In time, I'm sure that the same will happen with Solo. I expect professionals to act like professionals. I have known some high schoolers, U16's--some of them would have displayed more maturity and self discipline than some of the aforementioned did during their performances. Whatever happened to sucking it up? Sometimes coached make idiotic decisions. It comes with the territory. There is a way to handle things. Solo's way wasn't it. Harkes/Sampson/Lalas and other from France 98--that wasn't it either. Whatever happened to putting the team first, even when it hurts your ego?

Posted by: yankiboy | October 23, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I've decided the Solo incident functions as a Rorschach, unveiling an individual's gut pull toward authoritarianism or leniency, collectivism or anarchy. Sports, like civil society, is organized by explicit and implicit rules; the latter typically remain invisible until "broken", which is when things get interesting.

Many psychologists think tolerance for ambiguity is a hallmark of maturity. Maybe sports function as an outlet for adults' suppressed desire for childhood simplicity: in or out, fair or foul, good guys or bad guys. But it's hard not to note that Solo's staunch defenders/attackers display the outrage of adolescents whose orderly universe is inexorably vanishing.

I hope some sports psychologist is watching this drama closely, and can hand us back the narrative 5 or 10 years down the road. I think in retrospect this will be a watershed moment for US women's soccer, when we all - players, fans, journalistas and Federistas - grew up a little, painfully, together. Call me a dumb optimist, but I think we'll all be better off for it. Here's hoping.

Posted by: NYC Natsfan | October 23, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

For that matter, I lost a lost of respect for Lilly and Wambach, especially the captain. They not only allowed but exacerbated this whole campaign to turn Solo into a nonperson. Having her wear civilian clothes while on the best during this three-game exhibition series against Mexico was like having her wear a scarlet letter. It was demeaning and uncalled for.

To yankiboy: 1998 was a whole different matter. Harkes stood up to Sampson; that's why he was fired. Lilly allowed herself to be used as Ryan's tool.

Those of you who criticize Solo must remember this: Solo acted in a moment of emotional indiscretion. Ryan, Lilly and their comrades acted with calculated vindictiveness. It doesn't matter to them that she apologized to them in person or on her MySpace page.

This wasn't an issue of restoring team unity or promoting "reconciliation" (to use Ryan's Orwellian term). This was an attempt to break a person's spirit.

This whole debacle reflected a coach's willingness to seek any available scapegoal to deflect attention from himself. It also reflects a team riddled by cliques where individuality is discouraged and enslaved by a savage groupthink that renders some players more equal than others (i.e., Scurry) and turns its adherents into vicious bullies.

Whoever replaced Ryan as coach must insist that Lilly never again wear the captain's armband. She could have put a stop to all this and didn't.

Posted by: Joseph D'Hippolito | October 23, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

The U.S. back line was ripped apart by the Brazilians, and by the North Koreans.

The opposing forwards were just way quicker than the US WNT.

I don't know what sort of reputation the US defenders had before the matches against N. Korea or Brazil, but I again note that, as has been commented upon many times, that reputation was built up against weak teams playing a series of meaningless friendlies.

Marta's fancy moves? Killed the US defenders time and again. Made them look like they were moving in slow motion.

In contrast, I am reminded of a scene that has stuck in my brain forever from France vs. Brazil, finals of men's World Cup 1998. Denilson, who at that time held the title of the world's most expensive soccer player, was coming down the flank, facing off against Lillian Thuram, without a doubt one of soccer's greatest defenders of all time.

Denilson did his fancy trademark stepover moves, Thuram stood his ground and waited, and then very nonchalantly STRIPPED THE BALL away, cleanly, no foul, no mess, didn't even touch Denilson. AND he immediately started a French counterattack.

Now, THAT is a real world class defender for you!

On the women's side, I again point to the difference with the German defenders, who seemed to know how to deal with the trick moves of Marta and the other Brazilians much better. The German defenders just seemed to have quicker feet, and were able to close down the Brazilians without too much trouble.

As for Solo and her troubles with the rest of the team - I think there is a hidden story there that is yet to come out.

The U.S. WNT seems to be composed of two groups - the older players, leftovers from the 2004 Gold Medal team, and survivors of the initial Greg Ryan purge, and the younger players like Natasha Kai who have been only recently added.

It's quite clear to me from the comments that have come out that it is the older player group - especially Abby Wambach and Christine Lilly - who were the ones that most supported, and may have even initiated, the idea of putting Brianna Scurry in goal for the Brazil match.

The US WNT is no longer the independant free - spirited and hungry team of Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain. Those players had to fight for everything they got from the USSF. Remember, they even went on strike as a group once, in order to get better pay. Their salaries back then were less than a high school teacher would make. The USSF responded for a time by putting in replacement players. This is how bitter the history of the WNT really is. It has never been one big happy family - only when they won in 1999 and 2004.

Search the Internet for information about how much money the US WNT players make, and you get a lot of coy answers hinting at the fact that it's now a lot more money, probably in the low six figures at least, and higher in a World Cup year (they get a bonus of another low six figure amount for getting to third place).

And so now, rather than the era of Mia Hamm, where the WNT players were playing for not much more than the love of the game, we now see this sense of entitlement, and most of all this sense of wanting to PROTECT THEIR ENTITLEMENTS, this sense of not wanting to rock the boat, jeopardize their slot on this good paying job. Just do what the boss man coach tells you to do, keep your mouth shut, it's a great life.

And so instead of passion and intensity and artful play, we get a very industrial outlook on life as a soccer player on the US WNT, with very industrial, mechanical looking results.

Yeah, and then this upstart goalie speaks up, lashes out at the coach, lashes out at your buddy "who go me my Gold Medal" (Wambach's comments defending Scurry), and of course you are going to think poorly of Hope Solo.

Even if she was just speaking the truth. Even if she was speaking because she really, really wanted to play and win so badly for all of the team.

No, mustn't jeopardize this great gravy train, mustn't speak ill of what's going on with the US WNT.

And so there you go.

Posted by: GP | October 23, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

GP, as much as I agreed with your morning post, I take real issue with your latest.

"On the women's side, I again point to the difference with the German defenders, who seemed to know how to deal with the trick moves of Marta and the other Brazilians much better. The German defenders just seemed to have quicker feet, and were able to close down the Brazilians without too much trouble."

I think the Germans did not do this 1v1. When you are 1v1 with Marta that is a failure of your team defense. Who closes down Marta 1v1 "without too much trouble?" The Germans did a masterful job of covering -- team defense. I think the difference is not that the Germans are better defenders, they were in a better system.

To oversimplify what others posted at the time, the gig was up in the midfield, not the back line. It is too harsh an assignment to post 3 forwards up top, and then ask the remaining 7 to defend against 7 flying Brazilians. You want to be numbers up, not even. IMO.


Posted by: WNT fan | October 23, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Joseph D: I think that most people can agree that the current team (including the "veteran leadership") could have done a better job to handle the situation after it went sour. The plainclothes exile during this last Mexico series was excessive. I agree with you on that 100%.

Having said that, I don't see where Ryan or anyone else looked to scapegoat Solo. Ryan made a decision to change keepers. Ryan's team showed very little creativity. It was Ryan's choices on personnell that were questioned. It was Ryan's leadership and judgement that came up short. So Ryan is shopping his resume. I have read columns on the 4 Letter and other places saying that Ryan needed a scapegoat. Harshly put, Ryan failed. He knew he failed. Solo exposed herself and put herself out there. They both have to live with the consequences of their actions.

As far as France 98 goes. Harkes made his decision to go against the coach, so he had to go. At a certain point, you decide how far you want to push things. He made his choice and he got dropped. Some of his teamates never got over it or the stupid system that the coach wanted to play and showed a lack of maturity in the aftermath. They are professionals. There is a way to conduct yourself. There are channels to go through and acceptable/unacceptable behaviour both for private and public.

Being a part of a team is a elective situation and yes, individuality must take a back seat at times--the main exception being when you feel morally compelled to take a hardline stand. It's my opinion that is not what happened with Solo or Lalas or some of the other France 98ers. With Harkes, I am inclined to give him morethe benefit of the doubt in that regards.

The new coach will need to be a unifying force. He will need to wipe slates clean and give the ladies a chance to really "reconcile". Those that don't want to put the team first can hit the road. The team needs to be made whole in some way. Cliques and bitterness are going to have to take a backseat.

JP, thanks a lot for your excellent point about the continued nature of the team and Ryan's backlash against Solo. In my anger over the situation I had failed to note that very important matter.

Posted by: yankiboy | October 24, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

GP: I agree with you on some points:

Marta is filthy. Her creativity, her desire to take on defenders, if you want to call it a mix of confidence and skill--she's got it.

I also agree with you on the point that there is more playing here than one incredibly boneheaded coaching decision--your point about not being one happy family and the historical points are very valid.

Heinrichs got axed partially because of her realtions with the team (of course tactics and success rate clearly played a roll as well).

I also agree about the economics which are of course a reality.

Where we disagree is on a basic principle:

I believe that as long as there are no moral/legal violations occuring that a coach is a coach and the boss is the boss. Some call it "groupthink". Some call it "organizational hierarchy".

If one feels a moral imperative to leave an organization a "blow a whistle" then one must do so. That what a conscience is for.

When something is not to our liking or is merely a matter of preference or convienence, I view things differently: if there is an option then that is the best thing to do rather than poison the water. There is a structure, their is a chain of command and concerns should be addressed appropriately.

Every member of the team wanted to play very badly and help the team win. Solo wasn't alone in her desire to serve and perform. She set herself apart by putting her own desires ahead of the team. She wasn't the sole reason for the implosion but she sure as heck played a key role in the event. There is a lot of blame to go around. Hopefully, this is an opportunity to get things righted with a ship that appears to have already been taking on water.

Based on your last post it seems as if we are starting from two very different beliefs or points of origen when it comes to how to handle disagreements within an organization and that is why we seem to have such different takes.

Posted by: yankiboy | October 24, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Ryan's coaching performance at the WC was career-threatening. His goal keeper decision was career-ending.
And so it has passed.

Posted by: JC in CT | October 24, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I don't see where Ryan or anyone else looked to scapegoat Solo...?

yankiboy, giving Solo the whole Hester Prynne treatment was nothning but an attempt to scapegoat her publicly. It was an attempt to draw attention away from Ryan's mistake. Ryan allowed it to happen because he thought he could benefit from it.

I don't deny that individuality has to take a back seat in team situations. By the same token, teams have to make sure that they can provide viable outlets for individual frustration. I read on another blog that Solo might not have had another outlet to voice her frustration within the team. If that's true, then that just reinforces my point about the cliqueishness and groupthink that dominates the WNT.

You should also know that a CBC reporter, Erin Paul, originally asked Solo to speak. Aaron Heifetz, the WNT press officer tried to dissuage Paul but Solo rebuked Heifetz and went ahead. If somebody had tried to talk to Solo beforehand to redirect her legitimate anger (not in the way Heifetz did), perhaps this might not have happened.

Besides, who really cares about public criticism? If the members of the WNT were adults and not emotional adolescents in women's bodies, they wouldn't have overreacted the way they did.

As far as the comparisons to 1998 go, I think the vast majority of the team was against Sampson and would not give him the benefit of the doubt, legitimately or otherwise.

Posted by: Joseph D'Hippolito | October 24, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

The real problem remaining for the WNT is the internal clique(s) led by Lilly and Wambach. The new coach has to take charge and end the sub-monarchies that currently marr this team. Frankly, some of the older players need to move on; their time has past. There is no shortage of good young talent in the US.

Posted by: Boldcall | October 29, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

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