Thursday, November 22, 2007

Admitting the obvious

One coaching change and a couple months after the actual event, USWNT midfielder Leslie Osborne states what seemed clear to many observers, no matter how many members of the team denied it at the time.

The change in goal before the Brazil game definitely had repercussions that took a toll on player performance.

It shouldn't be such a landmark moment that someone on the team finally just says the truth of that, but it is, because no other member, (other than Hope Solo) has done so. Part of me sympathizes that at any point, the squad was trying to sell this, "We were fine, it was no problem at all," line like they were some super-human roster completely untouched by something that would throw any team around the world, male or female.

There's solidarity and then there's denial. One shouldn't have to lead to the other. That's why Osborne's other statement puzzles me a bit, about how the players should be able to overcome the coaching if need be. That's not the way it should be. Coaching should be an asset to the team, not a handicap. If a coach's moves are an undeniable impediment to the team's performance, then it shouldn't be only one member of team standing alone in saying so.

23 comments:

David Keyes said...

It's interesting to see England's players today doing the same with McClaren (at least so far). No one is saying this decision to put Carson in goal had an effect, even though it clearly did.

A.C. said...

Robinson had definitely looked far shakier than Solo ever did. I'm sure it had an effect, but at the same time, I just think that England doesn't really have good options in goal at the moment. Carson made a couple of good saves in the game, too.

ghostwriter said...

"I think the change in goal affected all of us. As a team you need to come together no matter what the coach does." Might that also be a continuing criticism of Hope speaking out?

At least Cat Whitehill, Osborne, and the coach herself have all said they need to start fresh and move forward. Although, given Pia's short contract, Olympics right around the corner, and (I believe) an undetermined attitude amongst the players about their former starting keeper, it may still be an open question whether this "moving forward" will be with or without Hope Solo.

I think Pia may really have her hands full. This first mini camp is going to be quite interesting.

Anonymous said...

I suspect a few key forced retirements might fix this issue...I'd be really surprised to see Scurry and possibly Lilly back on the team.

JT (Chicago) said...

ghostwriter, you are so right. That first mini camp should be a must see for reporters. Imagine, if Solo does play what will happen that first time Wambach & Solo contest a lofted cross.

I hope the first camp is in LA so AC can ask the questions & make the observations first hand.

Anonymous said...

This team will put this behind them and behave like the professionals they are, contrary to what they showed under Greg Ryan. Pia will demand it and lead the way.

Hope will be the Keeper for 2008 if she chooses to stay, which naturally she will. She didn't apologize a million times for nothing!

Hope is a very good, now more experienced then ever, Goalkeeper who has been forced by various events since June to grow significantly as a person. Life events have a way of doing this for all of us. The 2-3 month rest will do wonders for her mental health and the time off will do the entire team wonders!

Any remaining issues among some of the players will be hashed out at the mini camp and put to rest.

Retirement is obviously near for Lilly & Scurry, although Lilly might just have enough left for 2008. Good or bad, I'm not sure? That will be up to Pia to decide. Scurry should retire to her world of motivational speaking without being asked to.

Let's not make something of the mini-camp that just doesn't need to be there. The media needs to allow the team to move on by letting the WC events go. If they do not, "we have moved on" needs to be the response from whoever is asked to comment.

Remember, there will be a movie and a book where all the dirty little details will come out!

Good luck to the US WNT for 2008! Hope we meet in the CONCACAF and Olympic Finals!

Go US & Canada! :)

C.

ghostwriter said...

Coach, you're the best! Thanks for the glass half full view.

I hope you're right.

I'll say it again, I hope you're right and that not only is the glass half full, but it's half full of Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc.

Good luck geting to those finals by the way (to both squads):)

JT (Chicago) said...

Anon (11/23 - 10:12am) said:

"The media needs to allow the team to move on by letting the WC events go."

Anon, I totally disagree with your comment. The media does not need to allow the team to move on. Members of the media should ask the questions they deem necessary to do their job. If that means asking questions about WC events, then so be it.

Many here rightfully applauded AC and other writers for trying to find out more about the events in question. Rather than covering up what was obviously an odd situation that may have affected the team's performance, writers asked the questions and allowed the USWNT staff & players to stonewall if they desired. The important thing was that the questions were asked.

By allowing the USWNT to return to the fairytale coverage that US Soccer so desires is a slap in the face to writers & fans and really to players as well - players who might have desired to go on record but feared the same fate that Solo suffered.

ghostwriter said...

jt,

I'll chime in on the media issue. I don't know if more coverage now of the WC events is good or bad. I'll leave that to others.

I think all soccer in the US has an access issue. It's too controlled. Freer, more open access for more writers/outlets is important to getting players known to the public and growing interest in soccer in a crowded sports marketplace. Sports is never just about the game, it's also about the players that play, issues that surround the game, and sometimes about non sport issues that interest particular players. That's the spice (with all due respect to Posh) and right now soccer in the US of A is WAY too bland.

I mean there have been, by my count, zero interviews given by USWNT players and coaches since China (excluding comments made ancillary to some other event like making an instructional video, attending a clinic, or getting caught in a riot). And posted here a couple days ago the US player owned web site announced it would no longer cover MLS due to third rate treatment and credentialing issues.

Zero interviews and the prime US league dissing the US player owned site? Got to be a better way.

Anonymous said...

"I mean there have been, by my count, zero interviews given by USWNT players and coaches since China (excluding comments made ancillary to some other event like making an instructional video, attending a clinic, or getting caught in a riot). "

Here's one:

http://www.fairgamemag.com/index.php/eng/past_issues/issue_10_2007/world_cup_re_cap_with_christie_rampone

Anonymous said...

http://www.fairgamemag.com/index.php/eng/past_issues/issue_10_2007/world_cup_re_cap_with_christie_rampone

Anonymous said...

"The media needs to allow the team to move on by letting the WC events go. "...Says who?

Lack of media coverage allows megalomaniacs like Ryan and the "team leaders" to run their sorority as they see fit. You want big time sporting credibility? With the big time comes the sometimes awful attentions of the media and the apperance on TV of buffoons such as Foudy, Wynalda and, sometimes, even the Director of Ridiculous Thinking, Alexi Lalas.

You can't have it both ways, even though I'd love to do without the Three Stooges.

As for the Paul Robinson comparisons with Scurry, perhaps the difference is that Robinson has been shaky, not stirring since World Cup 2006 so at the very least, his defence knew HOW he was going to be awful. Solo was very good.

The similarity was that Carson was an unknown, the devil you know and all that cliche stuff. Where McClaren and Ryan are to blame is not necessarily in replacing the keeper so much as WHEN they replaced their respective keepers. The strange thing is that, if he hasn't lost his mind, Carson could go on to be an excellent keeper for England. You might remember that Solo let in a soft goal in the rain against the North Koreans and then went onto have a good tournament until....

John

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see my comment elicited some emotion. :)

Ghostwriter, I do indeed always try to look at things from a glass half full perspective. TY for noticing that.

JT, I respect your opinion and am one of the ones here that applauded the efforts of the media to get to the bottom of the train wreck that was the WC for the US WNT.

We have obtained our goal of having Mr. Ryan relieved of his duties. If he still had his job, I would agree with you. Give Pia a clean slate to fix the internal issues, which are likely mostly personality driven? It's complex and she will have her hands full but I do believe she can fix things. Give her the space. Keep the pressure on Lilly & Wambach if you desire?

I agree the questions needed to be asked. I stand behind my belief. Move on & focus on 2008, the Olympics will be here before we know it.

John, "The media needs to allow the team to move on by letting the WC events go. "...Says who?

Says me! lol

I'm not suggesting for a second that there be a lack of media coverage? I refer only to letting the WC negatives go.

Repeat above, the desired result of having Mr. Ryan relieved of his duties has been obtained. Give Pia some space and time to look after the "team leader" attitudes that may still linger.

The timing of moving on is of course up to each and every individual. Mine has come, maybe not yours, that's fine.

BTW, Happy Thanksgiving to all. Ours was back in October but I celebrate the US event every year with Lions & Cowboys football, a couple of fine Cdn beers, and sometimes another turkey!

Brett Favre was amazing. Tony Romo too I suppose. Black Friday fun for all?

C.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Ghostwriter, some fine white wine too! lol

C.

ghostwriter said...

Anon(s): You know, I think I even remember (now) some folks discussing the interview Fairgame got with Rampone, but never read the piece, so forgot. Was nice to see one, anyway. Hey, thanks for the link.

C: Not exactly a Salon or Roederer B de B, but still fine bubbly, indeed. Always thought champagne was an optimist's drink...which must be why I keep reaching for the Jack Daniels. Come to think of it, maybe that's why I forgot the Rampone/Fairgame interview. Ha! :) :)

g

Anonymous said...

"Many here rightfully applauded AC and other writers for trying to find out more about the events in question. Rather than covering up what was obviously an odd situation that may have affected the team's performance, writers asked the questions and allowed the USWNT staff & players to stonewall if they desired. The important thing was that the questions were asked."

I didn't see many of these writers going after any new material only regurgitating the same sound bites over and over again with their own personal spin on it.

Are we suggesting that AC and others are being denied access to the players so they are unable to ask new questions?

A.C. said...

It's not that the media is being denied access to players, but we've also been told that the players are on vacation, which generally means that the USWNT media people won't set up interviews during that time.

Anonymous said...

A.C.,

Greg Ryan would be an excellent focal point for those answers that some of us desire, unless of course he's saving it for that book/movie.

Maybe he's ready to open up a bit?

Apparently Greg will be surfacing on or around Dec 12 in North Carolina. I assume this was booked prior to the World Cup?

Women’s World Cup Coach to Speak at Elite Club Seminar:

Greg Ryan, U.S. Women's National Team Coach, 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, will join the list featured presenters from the USA and Europe at the Third Annual Elite Club Seminar dedicated to Elite Girls and Women's Soccer. The 2005 and 2006 seminars have attracted over 200 Directors of coaching to debate best practices in club, staff and player development for youth soccer North America and Europe. The 2007 Seminar will take place in again Raleigh, NC, December 12-14, 2007 and has been approved as a Continuing Education (CE) event by the United States Soccer Federation. Four (4) CE units will be awarded to all 'A' Licensed Coaches who attend.

Would be a real coup to get an exclusive with him, even if via his favourite medium, the e-mail. :)

C.

Anonymous said...

This Tom Sermanni stuff has me scatching my head.

How can a guy who said no to coming to the States for a job "interview" say he rejected a job "offer"?

Stetching it just a bit, don't ya think Tom?

http://www.smh.com.au/news/football/us-dollars-cant-lure-sermanni-overseas/2007/11/22/1195321949825.html

The wording is confusing but unless Sunil said something like "come over for an interview and the job is yours" (highly unlikely) then either Tom or the writer of this article have a vivid imagination?

C.

Anonymous said...

Not an interview, but interesting for all you WNT fans out there.


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/magazine/specials/sportsman/2007/11/07/jhabvala.oreilly/

C.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, that paste didn't appear to work? This one maybe?


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/
magazine/specials/sportsman
/2007/11/07/jhabvala.oreilly/

Anonymous said...

A.C.,

What's this Michael Farber crap putting Hope Solo on the SI Anti-Sportsman of the Year with Barry Bonds, etal??

Maybe he should do us all a favour and stick to hockey?

C.

JT (Chicago) said...

Martin posted this link about the first camp at another forum:

http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/soccer/20071205-9999-1s5hope.html