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Real Madrid on the brink of history

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By ESPN Staff

Outgoing U.S. coach Ryan proud of achievements

Ousted U.S. women's soccer coach Greg Ryan said he was proud of his team's accomplishments during his tenure.

A day after U.S. Soccer officials announced Ryan's contract wouldn't be renewed, Ryan said winning the bronze medal at the 2007 Women's World Cup was a nice achievement.

"I am pleased with what we achieved over the past three years," Ryan said in an e-mail Tuesday. "It is amazing that this 'new' team lost only one game during this period.

"I am very proud of the bronze medal that we won in the 2007 World Cup. Playing in the most difficult group and on foreign soil, these players earned third place, matching the finish our team had in 2003 playing at home."

Ryan was widely criticized for his decision to bench goalie Hope Solo in favor of Briana Scurry for a semifinal match against Brazil that the top-ranked U.S. team lost.

The U.S. was 45-1-9 in three years under Ryan, but the 4-0 loss to Brazil was seen as a failure to win his only major tournament.

"I understand and accept the criticisms that accompany the decisions I made in the World Cup," Ryan said. "Soccer is a fluid game and not every decision or strategy always works as planned.

"In those cases, players, fans and the media have the right to express their opinions. As a coach, I understood that and accept it as a part of the job that was entrusted to me."