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Oct. 22, 2007
There is a difference between the U.S. men's, women's National Teams

Like it or not, it all comes down to expectations.

If the U.S. men reached the World Cup final, the players and coach would be considered the greatest thing since sliced bread.

If the American women don't reach the championship game, the Women's World Cup would be considered a great disappointment and failure for the U.S.

That's what you get when you have such a successful history over 22 years: two world championships and two Olympic gold medals. The U.S. is the only country never to finish out of the top three in the five WWCs and three Olympic soccer tournaments.

“We do bring a different expectation and standard to our women’s program," U.S. Soccer president Suntil Gulati said. ". My guess is that if we had gotten to the World Cup final in Germany (in 2006), we would have said ‘Wow, that was pretty terrific.’

"In our women’s program, because of the excellence that group has achieved over time, the expectations are much higher and frankly the players and our fans, knows we can’t win every game, but the expectation is that we’re going to be competing for a gold medal virtually every time we’re in competition."

Gulati announced Monday that U.S. Soccer would not renew Greg Ryan's contract for 2008 and beyond. Ryan entered the semifinal of the WWC in China with a 40-0-9 record during his three-year tenure. The U.S. never lost under the 50-year-old Ryan.

"Greg’s record over the past two years is very good in terms of winning percentage he’s probably the best we’ve had," Gulati said. "At the end of the process, which is the China part of it, it’s not just about one result. It was an overall assessment. And based on all of that, we felt that it was time to make a change.”

-- Michael Lewis

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