Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Blame the fed

Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Union-Tribune places the blame on the current situation of the US women's national team on the federation. As always, Zeigler is right on the money with his story.

He ends the story by giving us hope that something could happen regarding Greg Ryan's job but ultimately the story makes me wonder how the job possibly could have been handed to someone like Ryan as opposed to the other coaches Zeigler mentions.

If you aren't familiar with Ryan's previous coaching experience, he was the coach at Colorado College for four seasons. From the story:

His teams were 40-28-6 over four seasons and never qualified for the NCAA tournament, and he made such an impression that in an exhaustive, 1,800-word history of the women's program on the athletic department's Web site, he is mentioned exactly once.

But it reminded me of another story Zeigler wrote regarding the hiring of coaches and the federation. Zeigler wrote about how interim coaches have gone on to get the full-time gig before, such as Steve Sampson and Greg Ryan, days after Bradley was handed the men's job on an interim basis.

I'd like to think Bradley won't crash and burn like Sampson or have everyone calling for his head on a platter like Ryan but he was hired in the same exact manner as the other two. And it was under a different US Soccer president, the one many of us had hoped would bring about change in the federation on numerous levels.


A.C. said...

Mark's stuff is usually great, and he makes a lot of good points here, but again he forgets to mention why the federation hired Greg Ryan. Besides being the coach at Colorado, Ryan was the assistant coach at the successful 2004 Olympics, where the US beat Brazil, and then he led the U.S. squad, with a number of new young players, to an Algarve Cup victory over Germany.
Luis is right - it is much the way Bradley and Sampson were given their jobs - a coach who perhaps doesn't seem to have the most impressive resume exceeds expectations as interim and then is handed the big job.
with not a single loss in regulation until the Brazil game, Ryan still has the all-time highest win percentage of any U.S. coach. A lot of people will look at those numbers and decide he should stay on. I'm curious as to what Sunil will do.

JT (Chicago) said...

Thanks LB. Great article and as you say, right on the money.

Of the seven rumored candidates at the time, I rated them as such:

1) Jerry Smith
2) Pia Sundhage
3) Tony DiCicco
4) Tom Stone
5) Chris Petrucelli
6) Greg Ryan
7) Jim Gabarra

To me 1 through 3 could have been great hires. 4 and 5 would possibly succeed but I wouldn't like their style of play. 6 & 7 were not good at all.

At the time, I hoped that Ian Sawyers (yes, Mr. Foudy) or Tom Sermanni would also receive consideration for their work with San Jose of the WUSA.

I was surprised by Ryan's ability to get results but hated the tactics. Shannon MacMillian's quote about not being able to out hustle, out athlete teams was so true and was very evident but US Soccer has never been one to embrace tactically astute over bottom line results.

USSF needs to address the coaching matter but it also needs to fill the league void immediately and stop putting so much emphasis on their residency program. Conducting an insular camp doesn't prepare players for the highest level of competition. Weekly competitive matches which will breed competition for roster slots are needed to move this program forward.

... and please, no more Route One. kick & run tactics.

Bill said...

It's good to see more of this - I remember talking to a WNT player (not one of the ones mentioned in the story) back in 04/05. She said then that the US needed to go in a new direction, and, IIRC, even mentioned Sundhage by name.

Maybe the Federation has learned since then. Somehow, I'm skeptical.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant article by Ziegler.

RosyBlue said...

Any thoughts on the rumour that Phil Wheddon has been fired and that he strongly disagreed with Ryan's keeper swap? Does anyone know if that has been substantiated or not?

Anonymous said...

great articles and blog post. please right the ship sunil.

Kage said...


I've heard about it and the blog I read seems to have pretty good inside information. I am, unfortunately, unaware of her qualifications, but they do seem to come out true...

With that caveat, has said that "It turns out that Wheddon was strongly opposed to dropping Solo. The plot thickens... stay tuned."

But, I haven't seen it thus far on a news site. I will say USA Today had an article (think was 2006 or 2007) featuring Hope Solo and Wheddon was VERY praising of Solo in that article.

FC Uptown said...

Ryan is surely gone - so who will be the next coach already? Guess it wont be the guy at North Carolina with the sexual harrassment suit on him, huh?

Der FuƟballhund said...

Did you read this part of Women's Soccer USA?

"We have learned that allegedly Greg Ryan's decision to drop Solo and replace her with Scurry may have been more than just agreed to by Lilly and Wambach, and the change may actually have been instigated by Lilly and Wambach.
If true, that of course would shed some light on Solo's banishment and Lilly and Wambach's support of Ryan in the aftermath.

We understand that there is a split among squad members between 12 younger players who continue in their support of Solo and 6 senior players who sided with Lilly, Wambach and Ryan.
During a team meeting it was agreed to put the differences aside and to focus on becoming "the third greatest team you have never heard of."

It appears that Ryan maybe influenced if not outright led by the senior players and thus his bizarre player changes and behavior."

I had heard something similar from a few people. I know someone who was with the team in 2004, who told me that the veteran players had far too much influence on coaching decisions and they practically ran things.

It wouldn't surprise me if Ryan stayed on until after the Olympics, given that there's not a lot of time between now and then. Of course, Chivas fired their coach last week after losing to DC United and did just fine last night.