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Imagine, you're a coach and your team plays 55 games -- and loses just one. And you get fired.

It may have passed under the radar a bit, what with the NFL in full swing, an impending World Series and Kevin Millar's pitching debut at Fenway Park, but the coach of the United States women's soccer team was told a few days ago that his contract would not be renewed. The move deprives Greg Ryan, the coach who was part of a goalkeeping controversy at the World Cup this year, of the opportunity to coach the U.S. team at the Beijing Olympics. He finished with a 45-1-9 record. That one was costly, though.

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Ryan's U.S. squad won a bronze medal in the World Cup, but he's probably best remembered by many sports fans as the guy who replaced Hope Solo with Briana Scurry in goal for a semifinal game against Brazil. The Brazilians won, 4-0, and Solo criticized the move, essentially contending that Ryan was coaching in the past. Scurry, now 36, had been a star keeper for previous U.S. championship, World Cup and Olympic teams.

But if the Scurry move was a tactical blunder, what happened next was a PR mess for Ryan. Solo wound up being persona non grata on the team and barred from the third-place game against Norway. To many observers, she was not a petulant athlete who ripped a teammate but rather a sympathetic figure who was being punished for having the courage to speak the truth.

The bottom line for the moment is that Ryan is out and Solo is back in.

Photo credit: Julie Jacobson/AP

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