'U' women's soccer team nabs former national team coach

BY NATE SANDALS
Daily Sports Editor
Published February 1, 2008

Greg Ryan, the former head coach of the U.S. women's national team, will be named the University of Michigan's head women's soccer coach, multiple sources have confirmed.

A contract has not been signed, but sources with knowledge of the situation said they expect an agreement to be reached soon.

An e-mail to Ryan seeking comment was not returned.

The national team lost just once in Ryan's three years as head coach (45-1-9). But the lone defeat spelled the end of his stint.

Ryan, 51, was not retained after the team's disappointing third-place finish in the FIFA Women's World Cup last fall. The coach came under fire for benching starting goalie Hope Solo, instead playing veteran backup Briana Scurry for the Americans' semifinal match against Brazil.

Scurry allowed four goals as the United States fell to the Brazilians, 4-0.

Solo was outspoken after the loss, criticizing Ryan's decision to bench her. The comments led Ryan to dismiss Solo from the team before the third-place game, in which the U.S. defeated Norway, 4-1.

On Oct. 22, the United States Soccer Federation told Ryan it would not renew his contract when it expired at the end of 2007.

Ryan has previous college coaching experience at the University of Wisconsin, Southern Methodist University and Colorado College.

West Virginia head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown was believed to be the other serious candidate for the job. Had she been offered the position and accepted it, Izzo-Brown would have been the third Mountaineer coach in less than a year to make the jump to Ann Arbor.

Izzo-Brown released a statement through the West Virginia Athletic Department in late December saying she had no intention of taking another job.

Ryan will become the second head coach in Michigan women's soccer history. The team's first and only head coach, Debbie Rademacher, stepped down in November after 14 seasons with the Wolverines.