Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Greg Ryan, Talking About Practice


Deposed USWNT coach Greg Ryan gave an interview to the Arizona Republic before Christmas, defending "the worst decision in the history of organized sports".

His pathetic excuses for taking out his hot goalkeeper Hope Solo for legendary but old and rusty Brianna Scurry:

1. Solo missed a team meal on the day of the England game. (The USA won that game 3-0 and Solo was credited with 4 saves on her clean sheet). I bet she was eating with her brother, who was in China to watch her play in tribute to their father who had died in June.

2. Even though he brings up the rule violation in the interview, he claims that's not why he didn't start her against Brazil. (Then why bring it up, other than to slime her. Jerk.)

3. Briana Scurry looked better than Solo -- in a practice. In this regard, I must quote the eternal words of Allen Iverson:

[W]e're talking about practice. We're talking about practice man. (laughter from the media crowd) We're talking about practice. We're talking about practice. We're not talking about the game. We're talking about practice....we're talking about practice man, we're not even talking about the game, when it actually matters, we're talking about practice.

This is what Ryan said about practice leading to his decision:

What did you see during practice that made you decide that Solo wasn't ready for Brazil?

"We played small sided games to big goals, where we were going to get a lot of chances like Brazil would get, dribbling in or around the penalty box. On that day, of the 30 or 40 shots, Hope was giving up three times the number of goals Briana was giving up.

Briana was saving them in the top corners. Hope was letting them go right through her hands, and this was two days before the Brazil game. It was so bad that I brought my assistants down to watch and said, 'Look at this.' Now looking back, correlating the late nights and whatever, maybe it makes a little bit more sense."

I talked to my sister about the bad practice excuse and she said, "People have bad practices before big games all the time. She was just getting it out of her system! What a jerk."

4. And that's his final excuse, that Solo had been keeping late nights. I call bullshit on this one. There is no way that this athlete who has dedicated the tournament to her recently deceased father decides to sabotage herself like that. Maybe she stayed out late the nights after she found out that her bonehead of a coach was taking her out of the most important game of her life (and as it turned out, his career.)

Solo also gave an interview recently to the San Diego Union-Tribune in which, as she has been after her ill-considered (but entirely truthful) post-Brazil-game interview, she is conciliatory and apologetic.

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