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November 24, 2012 at 6:09 PM

U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati on the passing of first USWNT coach Mike Ryan

us logo small.jpgLocal soccer legend Mike Ryan died in his home Tuesday after a long battle with a rare autoimmune disorder. He was 77.

Among his many accomplishments, which will be covered in a longer obituary in the next day or so, Ryan was the first coach of the U.S. women’s national team back in 1985.

Through a federation spokesman, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati issued a statement recently to The Seattle Times on Ryan’s death:

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“Mike Ryan was there at the very beginning of what has become the most successful women’s international soccer program in the world and his contribution will never be forgotten. He dedicated his life to soccer and working with young people and I’m sure he was very proud to see them grow into great people and players, just as he was proud to see the Women’s National Team grow from its infancy to win World Cups and Olympic gold medals.”

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