I ranked who I think the top candidates are to replace Ryan. I'd say that there are also other contenders like Tom Sermanni, Mark Krikorian, and Jim Gabarra.
Gabarra could probably sympathize with Jerry Smith’s position as a coach who could possibly be eliminated from contention because of a spouse being a former national team member, since he is married to Carin Jennings-Gabarra. Granted, Carin retired quite a while ago, but she would still have ties to some players, like Kristine Lilly.
Actually, Gabarra has an advantage over Smith due to his recent pro experience from his time at the WUSA, as does another possible candidate, Mark Krikorian. But Smith's long record at Santa Clara could out weigh that.
All things considered, I still believe the female candidates hold the edge here. That's even without including Marika Domanski-Lyfors as a coaching possibility, though she could be a contender. But I belive Pia Sundhage has a decided advantage due to her American coaching experience. A candidate like Jillian Ellis also has comparable experience and achievement to Krikorian, Smith and Gabarra, with the added intangibles of being female and working more recently with the current player pool.