UCLA Pre-Game Quotes

Dec. 12, 2002

Dallas, TX - 2002 NCAA Men's College Cup
UCLA Pre-Game Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Tom Fitzgerald:
'We are excited to be here. We have had a tremendous season to this point. We have been very consitent and are peaking at the right time and that is all a coach can ask for.'

(On going from MLS to coaching in college):
'It was a great decision to come to UCLA and I am very thankful for the opportunity. There is a small difference in the players. At the MLS level, it is a lot of man managing. In the university setting, you try to impact decision making of the kids and help them with problem solving. They are in school to get an education. I like college coaching because you can make an impact in their lives.

(On Maryland and the match up):
'I know Sasho (Cirovski, Maryland's head coach) very well and I know he will have them very well prepared. They are aggressive like we are. It should be an interesting match-up because we won't be conservative. We will try to play our style.

'They play primarily a 4-3-3. They have very good speed and technically, are very gifted. They will provide a lot of challenges for our back three.

(On his team):
'We like to attack from the outside but we are very solid in the middle of the field. We have been playing very well right now.

'Dynamics of teams change from year-to-year. You have different personalities come to the forefront each year. We don't have any superstars, but the players that we have are very competitive and very good players. We don't rely on just one or two guys for scoring or leadership. We have good chemistry and a lot of guys providing different elements.

'We are certainly a better team than we were in the beginning of the year. We've had a chance to avenge a couple of losses from earlier in the season in the playoffs (Loyola-Marymount and Cal). I've seen a lot of growth and maturity over the last six weeks.'

#17 Scot Thompson
(Comparing Maryland to anyone else they have played this season)
'Of the teams we've played most recently, I'd say Fresno State, because they both play a 4-3-3. We really have to look out for their three forwards, play fast in the back and get the ball out to the flank.'

(On the emotions of coming back to the College Cup after reaching the Final Four in 1999)
'We're more calm this time around and are just taking it all in. We're nervous and excited. Now I know just how big this is.'

#3 Ryan Futagaki
(On season expectations)
'Our expectations before the season were very high. We set team and individual goals and, having reached the College Cup, we've reached many of those goals, but our expectations are still high as we play in the Final Four.'

(On the emotions of coming back to the College Cup after reaching the Final Four in 1999)
'When we came back in 1999, we didn't know what to expect, but now we know what this is like. I'd say we're more excited than nervous.'

#2 Tim Pierce
(On their recent offensive explosion)
'It will be difficult to keep scoring the way we have been against a tough team like Maryland. We'll just have to use our outside players to get the ball wide and hook up with our forwards.'

(On the emotions of coming back to the College Cup after reaching the Final Four in 1999)'When we reached the College Cup as freshmen, I think we started to expect this level of success, and it became an expectation for every season. Now we realize how difficult it is to get here and how important these next two matches are.'

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