The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
8 - Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Ryan's journey to Ann Arbor
By JEREMY SUMMITT
Daily Sports Writer
A journey from Germany
to the United States, then to
Greece and finally to China
seems like a travel enthusiast's
dream. If you could imagine
that adventure, with numerous
stops in between, you may be
able to understand the career of
Now the head coach of the
Michigan women's soccer team,
Ryan has lived coaching career
that has been an adventure, but
hardly a vacation.
Ryan was horn in Frankfurt,
Germany, but raised in Dallas.
Ever since he could walk, you
could count on him having a
soccer ball at his feet.
"Soccer has been my life, it's
what I love," Ryan said.
After an All-American career
at Southern Methodist Univer-
sity, Ryan rose to the profes-
sional ranks in 1978 with the
Minnesota Kicks of the North
American Soccer League. Ryan
played in the league for seven
years, retiring in 1985 as a mem-
ber of the Chicago Sting.
He took his first head coach-
ing job with the University
of Wisconsin women's soccer
team. By then, Ryan had gained
an array of soccer knowledge
from his professional days, but
he soon learned that being on
the sideline was much different
than playing on the field.
"I had a lot to learn about
coaching," Ryan said. "It was
my first time coaching women
and that was very different for
me. Honestly, I was maybe one
of the worst women's soccer
Eventually, Ryan learned
what he hadto do to successfully
lead a women's soccer program,
winning NCAA Coach of the
Year in 1991, and he remained at
Wisconsin until 1993.
. "In coaching women, it is
very important in the way that
you relate to them," he said.
Ryan then returned to his
alma mater, where he led the
SMU women's team to a 37-21-
5 record during his tenure. He
then made one final stop, at Col-
orado College from 1999-2002,
leading the women's team to a
Freshman James Murphy is a transplant from Oxford, England.
to life in the U,,So
Michigan coach Greg Ryan coached the U.S. national women's soccer team before coming to Michigan.
40-28-6 record, before taking a
break from collegiate soccer.
That same year, in 2002, Ryan
happily signed with the United
States women's national team
as an assistant coach. Jumping
from the collegiate ranks to the
best soccer players in the coun-
try was quite an adjustment, he
"I was asked to become a
scout and then the assistant
coach," Ryan said. "Being
around the team, getting to
know the players, and getting
to know the level of play really
helped me. Especially scouting
in just about every continent, I
believe that prepared me very
well for the transition."
He was there through it all.
As an assistant coach, Ryan
attended the 2004 Olympics in
Athens. Under the USA's first-
ever female head coach, April
Heinrichs, Ryan helped lead the
team to a gold medal.
"It was so exciting to support
April," Ryan said. "This was her
first championship. When we
won, April jumped on top of me
and gave me a big hug. I was so
happy for her."
Heinrichs resigned from the
head coaching job in 2005, say-
ing it was the right time to step
away, and Ryan was hired as the
national team's head coach. Just
two years later, he was at the
2007 World Cup in China.
"When you're at a World
Cup as a coach, you're probably
busier during that time than any
other time during your career,"
Ryan said. "You just need to be
ready for your next opponent."
He nearly led the team to a
first-place finish in yet another
world competition. But the
team lost to Brazil, 4-0, in the
semifinals. It was the only loss
the U.S. suffered under Ryan's
tenure. Ryan was roundly criti-
cized for benching goalkeeper
Hope Solo in favor of veteran
Briana Scurry before the semi-
Although a third-place finish
may have been bittersweet, he
walked away from the tourna-
ment as an even better coach.
"When you play against
international teams, and even
in college, you run into a vari-
ety of styles of play," Ryan said.
"It helps you grow tactically,
knowing how to approach dif-
That December, Ryan's con-
tract wasn't extended with the
national team, setting his stellar
45-1-9 record over three years
After taking the head coach-'
ing position at Michigan nearly
five years ago, it's evident that
Ryan wasn't ready to take a
break from coaching.
"I feel so fortunate to do
something that I love," Ryan
said. "I get to work with young
people. It helps keep me young
(and) I've been very happy to be
a coach during all these years.
I plan on coaching until I'm six
Ryan's career is nearlyunpar-
alleled to many of his colleagues
in the NCAA. It's obvious that
his experience as coach of the
national team reflects his suc-
cess at the collegiate level, but
it takes a different mindset to
coach at a university.
"You're more a part of their
lives. You're responsible for
more thap just winning but
more in terms of helping them,
whether it's injury, classes (or)
relationship issues," Ryan said.
"It's more personal at the colle-
Until recently, James Mur-
phy, a freshman forward from
Oxford, England, has known a
football to be black, white, and
In his hometown, Murphy
played five seasons for Read-
ing FC, a Premier League club,
before Michigan assistant soc-
cer coach Tommy McMenemy
paid him a visit early this past
summer. Having been recruited
by numerous American univer-
sities, including North Carolina,
Rutgers and Ohio State, Murphy
chose Michigan at the last min-
ute, signing with the men's soc-
cer program in June.
Murphy isn't the onlyEnglish-
man to make the trans-Atlantic
move to Michigan. He was joined
by freshman midfielder Luke
Coulson, a native of Manches-
ter, England. The duo has been
in Ann Arbor for training since
the beginning of August and has
seen plenty of action in the early
portion of the fall schedule.
The transitions - from Eng-
land to college life in the Unit-
ed States - have been difficult
Murphy said, but nothing too
Murphy said early morn-
ing weight lifting sessions and
9 a.m. classes certainly take
some getting used to but "the
boys have been great" in helping
him adjust. He plans to major in
political science and has aspira-
tions to play Major League Soc-
cer after college.
Through the first seven games 4
of the season, the Wolverines
have matched up against a heavy
schedule that includes four ofthe
country's top-20 teams, posting
a 2-5 record. Of the team's "rocky
start," Murphy said experiences
like playing No. 5 South Florida
on the road in front of 3,000 fans
"definitely put the team in good
shape" for the season.
One highlight of the begin-
ning of his freshman year, away
from homework and soccer, was
packing into a crowd of 112,522
at Michigan Stadium on Sept. 15
to watch the .Michigan football
team defeat Air Force, 31-25, in
Murphy's first game at the Big
"The only way to describe
the soccer culture back home is
to compare it to football here,"
Murphy said of the atmosphere
on game day.
And while he had abit of trou- 4
ble followingsome of the rules of
the sport, he said there will be
plenty of opportunities to learn
the other football over the next
four years at Michigan.
Defense much improved in loss to Notre Dame
By LUKE PASCH do a better job. That's where it
Daily SportsEditor starts. It starts with m6. I need
to do a better job of coaching the
With four interceptions and game of football. As a staff, we
a fumble, there weren't many will do that."
positives for senior quarterback But there was undeniably
Denard Robinson in Saturday's some good, and even a visibly
loss to Notre Dame. upset Hoke admitted that he was
The negatives stood out in the pleased with some aspects of the
Wolverines' disappointing 13-6 game, particularly on the defen-
loss, and they're certainly the sive side of the ball and with the
first thing Michigan coach Brady offensive line's play.
Hoke noticed after the game, and "I was proud of the effort that
he put the onus on himself and we played with," Hoke said. "I
the rest of the coachingstaff. thought our defense kept us in
"We brought 69 guys down the football game. That was a
here, 115 total for our football positive."
team - coaches and everyone The defense certainly wasn't
else," Hoke said. "We all have to perfect on' Saturday, but it did
Michigan coach Brady Hoke applauded his defense's performance against the Fighting Irish in South Bend on Saturday, despite the 13-6 defeat to Notre Dame.
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almost completely stymie Notre
Dame's offense when it was led
by starting quarterback Everett
Golson was just 3-of-8 pass-
ing, and he was picked off twice
- once by redshirt sophomore
cornerback Raymon Taylor and
once by redshirt junior safety
Thomas Gordon. After Gordon's
interception in the second quar-
ter, Fighting Irish coach Brian
Kelly replaced Golson with
junior quarterback Tommy Rees,
who faired abitbetter against the
Rees finished the game 8-of-
11 passing and he rushed for a
touchdown from the two-yard
line, which was the only touch-
down the Michigan defense
The defense fared far better
against Golson and Rees than
it did against the Notre' Dame
offense the past two seasons,
when itgave up 24 points in 2010
and 31 points last year. But defen-
sive coordinator Greg Mattison's
unit still did make some mis-
the game. It was third-and-goal
on the Michigan 10-yard line,
when freshman safety Jarrod
Wilson obstructed the targeted
receiver's route. He was flagged
for pass interference.
Rees picked up his rushing
takes. touchdown on
"We had the every next
two interfer- " play.
ence penalties W e re not Another
to keep drives playingdefensive slip-
of theirs alive, up came in the
twice," Hoke fundam entally final moments,
said. "And when Notre
that's just, sound enough." Dame was
we're not play- e" driving with
ing fundamen- just a few min-
tally sound utes left to play.
enough." Down seven, Michigan needed a
One of the mistakes Hoke quick stop to give Robinson and
referred to came in the second the offense one more chance to
quarter on Rees's first drive of tie up the game.
On first down from Notre
Dame's 10-yard-line, fifth-year
senior cornerback J.T. Floyd
slipped in coverage, and Rees
launched a deep ball to senior
tight end Tyler Eifert, which he
completed for 38 yards.
From there, the Fighting Irish
picked up one more first down,
then kneeled the ball to end the
The defense performed well
enough to potentially win the
game on Saturday, but it was
haunted by a couple of key errors
that proved costly. In the post-
game press conference, even
though Hoke praised his team's
defense, he still summed it up
with a stark reality.
"I think we have a long way
to go to win the Big Ten confer-
ence," he said.