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Pre-Norway Quote Sheet: Head Coach Greg Ryan


U.S. head coach Greg Ryan
Opening statements to the media:
“Obviously, this has been a distraction to the team. Our focus is now completely on Norway, on winning the third place match, and preparing for that match. It’s your losses in life, it’s your defeats that reveal your character and we all know that. The reason I mention that is I am so impressed with our players and their character. This has been very hard for them because they care deeply about each other. They have come together and backed each other, supported each other in the great tradition of the Women’s National Team since its inception. Their unity is a quality that defines this group. It’s the core of their being. And, they are unwilling, and rightly so, for us to move forward and leave that quality behind.

“Saying that, we did not have Hope attend practice today. She will not be attending the game tomorrow. We have moved forward with 20 players who have stood by each other, who have battled for each other, and when the hard times came – and the Brazil game was a hard time – they stood strong. Now it is the 20 that have stuck together that will be ready to go out and compete against Norway. That’s our whole focus, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

On the decision:
“Hope is a young person. She’s made a mistake and she knows that. Believe me, I’ve made tons of mistakes in my life bigger than Hope’s, and I think you just want to see her grow from this and, again, for all of us in this room who have made mistakes in our lives, we know that those were the opportunities that allowed us the potential to grow the most. This is an opportunity for Hope to grow, and we want to see her grow and learn from this experience. The decision is completely based on helping the team just focus on being a team, going out and playing great against Norway. That’s what we’ve always been about and you have to protect that. If you let that go now you’ll let it go forever. It’s just too important for this team that they are always a team. If you go back to 2000, since the Olympics, this team has gone away with a winner’s medal once in 2004, and that against the flow if anybody remembers the game. But, they have never gone a day without standing by each other. I’ve been around them since 2003, and they’ve stood strong. The story here is a great group of women who have stood by each other, fought for each other, won together, lost together and hung together. I couldn’t be prouder as a head coach.”

On if the players had input into his decision:
“I’ve always tried with this team to discuss any important issues with the leaders in our team. I did that again this time. At the end of the day I’ve got to make the call. That’s my job. I have to do what is in the best interests of this team first and foremost. That’s what I’ve always done, even if I get it wrong sometimes. But I’ve always got to put the best interests of this team first and so, with input from are leaders and our leaders taking input from the rest of the team, I made this decision.”

On Solo’s reaction to the news:
“Obviously she is disappointed, but I think she understands that she lost this team. This team has to play for each other. They have got to care about each other. They have got to know that I care about them. That’s the fantastic quality among many in women’s sports. It’s very hard for Hope right now. But she knows that trust is hard to gain, easy to break, and even more difficult to regain. I believe that she is committed to the process. It takes more than an apology. It takes actions, day by day, living right and being a good teammate.”
On Briana Scurry, who will start vs. Norway:
“I think one of the great stories in this World Cup is Briana Scurry. It hasn’t been easy for a player with pedigree – two Olympic gold medals, a World Cup championship – to take a back seat role. She’s done it like a pro. But she’s not only taking a back seat, but worked to be ready. I would have never put her into that game against Brazil if I didn’t think she was the best choice. That wasn’t to do Bri a favor, that was to win that match to put us in the final. I’m so proud of her, how she’s handled herself, her character, the fact that she’s stayed behind the team during this time where she’s seen a young player that’s never won a medal step in front of her. Bri has just been fantastic. If you look in hindsight at me and what I’ve done and the potential mistakes, I think my mistake was not leaving them in a dual starting role at an earlier period of time. I think in this World Cup, seeing how good Bri is, I think we needed two kinds of goalkeepers in this World Cup. Hope’s just a fantastic goalie on crosses and she is good at everything – she is a very good keeper at everything. But I think Bri, to me, is the best shot stopper in the world. And I see that every day in practice. I just wish we’d played a little bit better in front of Bri the other night, and the players feel that way too.”

On if Solo can return to be a contributor on the team:
“You have got to have great players to move forward down the road, so everybody has a future that can make this team. The main thing that has got to occur is reconciliation. That is a very slow process, but it is a very important process and it’s one that we have to be open to.”

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