High expectations can create major repercussions.
That was defender Cat Whitehill's reaction to the news Greg Ryan is out as the U.S. women's soccer coach. The decision came less than a month after his top-ranked team lost in the World Cup semifinals following a contentious goalie switch.
"With the standards our team has set, if you don't win, it's hard to keep your job," Whitehill said Monday, a day after players and Ryan were informed of the move. "Nothing against the way Greg Ryan coached, but we didn't play as well as we should have."
Ryan's contract will not be renewed when it expires at the end of the year. The squad does not play any more games in 2007.
"I'm not going to point to any one factor or one individual decision," U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said on a conference call Monday announcing the change. "Obviously, coaches' decisions impact games. All that was weighed in."
Ryan could not be reached for comment.
Gulati, U.S. Soccer secretary general Dan Flynn and retired star Mia Hamm will form the search committee. Gulati expected to make a hire in the next 30-45 days, with the team set to resume training in January. The new coach will come in with just eight months to prepare for the Beijing Olympics.
Ryan was 45-1-9 since taking over in early 2005, but Gulati made clear that the lone loss weighed heavily in the decision because it meant Ryan failed to win his only major tournament.