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Lack of Soccer Culture Hurts U.S. Women
Associated Press, September 28th, 2007 5PM

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U.S. coach Greg Ryan is being blamed for the Hangzhou massacre, but he's not the only one responsible for the defeat. Associated Press columnist Jim Litke says to play the blame game takes away from the fact that Brazil was a far superior team than the USA. Ryan's players only occasionally demonstrate an understanding of how to play together that other teams now exhibit.

The USA may have had a headstart on the rest of the world, and for more than a decade, its superior athleticism was enough of an advantage to win most games. But other teams have closed that gap, while the USA has stagnated. In China, the Americans’ offensive strategy consisted of kicking the ball long and down the middle of the field, relying on Abby Wambach to retrieve it, then beat several defenders, usually single-handedly.

Just like the men, American women suffer from the lack of a real soccer culture. And there's no substitution for the imagination the Samba Queens developed playing in the streets of Brazil.

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