Monday, October 22, 2007

Greg Ryan gone at last

The time of Greg Ryan as US Women's boss is over as US Soccer boss Sunil Gulati has pulled a Bruce Arena on Mr. Ryan and decided against renewal of his contract.

Here is the official, thanks for coming, it has been fun, now get off my property note from Gulati:
At the conclusion of each world championship cycle, every national team's performance is closely analyzed. There are many factors considered in this analysis, and it certainly isn't just about one loss or one particular coaching decision. In this case, after looking closely at the last six weeks and the team's performance at the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, we have made a decision to change leadership of the U.S. Women’s National Team. I want to thank Greg Ryan and his staff for their work over the last two-plus years. We look forward to the continued development of our National Team as one of the best in the world.
After the horrible play his side put on in the World Cup, topped off by one a horrible decision concerning the goalkeeper and the subsequent demand for the team to turn against the wronged keeper, Ryan's departure cannot come soon enough. That might be a little harsh for a coach that lost only one match in his 55 coached, but the loss was the result of all his stumbles up to that point.

Yet Ryan alone is not the only problem hitting the women's team. The lack of a quality league has also stunted the growth of the women's game. This has limited the player pool to those that Ryan and company think to make the cut as well as decreased the time players have to develop.

The biggest weak point for the team in this past World Cup was the midfield as it looked sloppy and unable to provide the connection needed to control games. The problem is, midfielders need games to develop far more then attackers or defenders. Till the new league starts up in 2009, the best thing US soccer could do to help this problem is double or triple the size of the residency program, but the cost on that might not be acceptable.

America was able to dominate the early years of the women's game mainly because Title IX gave women options in this country that they had in few other places, however now that more nations have taken an interest in the sport, this is not enough. Whoever the next coach might be will need to find a way to get this team moving again.

It will be up to a Gulati, U.S. Soccer Secretary General Dan Flynn and Mia Hamm to discover whom that person is.

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