Chat Wrap: Derek Shanahan
Nov. 1, 2001
Derek Shanahan: Hey everyone. I'm ready to start taking questions and thanks for coming out!
Marilyn Grabowski from Freehold NJ: Do you think Bobby Clark has regrets about leaving Stanford this year?
Derek Shanahan: That's an interesting question. I don't think a person like Bobby Clark would make a decision like the one he did without seriously considering all the consequences. It's one of the things he taught us as student athletes. So I don't think he holds any regret...in fact I'm sure he's having a great time in the Midwest with Notre Dame, and I'm sure they're glad to have him and his staff. In the same we, we're more than happy to have Bret and his staff!
Tom (Palo Alto): Hi Derek-- how do you prepare for a big game such as Friday night's match with UCLA?
Derek Shanahan: We prepare for every game we play in the same way. The college season is a short one, and we do most of our preparation during the off-season, preparing our team for anything, getting a fitness base, and putting together a team structure that we're confident with. During the season, we spend the week before each game getting our minds sharp, getting a lot of touches on the ball, and walking through situations that had given us problems the weekend before. Big match or not, our goal is to play at the level we're capable of regardless of the competition. Thanks for the question, and hope to see you at the game!
Brandi: Derek!!! Hope things are going well for you today! What is the team's feeling on the postseason for this year?
Derek Shanahan: The postseason is a long way away, in our minds. The next few weeks will be very important for our team, because they will give us four more chances to improve on things we need improvement on. Each game is going to be a tough one, especially because each team has playoff aspirations. When we have accomplished what we need to in the next few games, hopefully we'll be in a position to put it all together for tournament time. Every game will be an exciting one from here on out...that's for sure.
Keith in Chicago: First of all, congratulations on the terrific season so far. How has the team been so good at home this year?
Derek Shanahan: Thank you for the compliment. You know, its hard to explain the home field advantage, and I'm sure that a different person would reply differently. But my feeling is that there are a large number of people who put a lot of hard work into making this program as high quality as it is, and that gets reflected in the team's success, not only at home. When the team is at home, however, the little things (and big things) that people in our administration, training room, and local community do all add an advantage for us. They provide us with inspiration and motivation, and make us feel very, very at home. This is a tough place to come and play, and it will continue to be!
Chris Daly (Jackson, Wyo): Rumor has it you have a special pair of 1987 White Puma boots you've been saving for the Final Four. Is there any truth to this? If so, where might I find a pair for myself? Thanks!
p.s. I wear a size 8.5
Derek Shanahan: I will admit to having a number of superstitions, Chris, but I'm not sure if your sources are accurate:) The boots I have had since around 1987 are actually florescent yellow Valsport Tacchinardi's, which my high school coach wouldn't let me wear! I don't really think they are meant for the Final Four, however...they're more of just a memento. Thanks cuz!
AGNES in Monterrey: Derek...it seems like a lot of different players are getting a chance to play this year. How does that effect the offense?
Derek Shanahan: I would say that everyone on the team is benefited by the number of people seeing game time. The experience that these younger guys keep gaining translates into future strength for this program. Our team has scored a lot of goals this season, and part of the reason for that is the guys who are coming off the bench and keeping the level of play very high. Further, we've avoided serious injury this year because players can get rest when they need it without worrying that the team will suffer. That is the sign of a great program, and has been a crucial aspect of Stanford Soccer's success in the past few years.
Marcus: Derek,how are Andrew Terris and Adam Zapala different in goal, as far as technique and style?
Derek Shanahan: I am definitely not really qualified to distinguish between the technique and style of those two men, but I think you bring up a good point. A lot of people outside the program were probably worried about the graduation of Zapala. Terris has stepped into his role with incredible poise and has become a strong leader for this team, both on and off the field. He has made big saves to keep our team in games, and has helped coordinate and organize a very solid defense for our team. So in that way, the goalkeeping at Stanford has been top-notch for years now, and will continue at that level.
Soccer Fan in Atherton: Why is the scoring spread out so much this year. At the home games I've been too, it seems like everyone scores goals.
Derek Shanahan: I talked about our home games a little bit earlier, but I wanted to comment on our scoring this year. I wonder if everyone watching our games can see the freedom that the players on our team have on the field in attack. Coach Simon has given our team a much more offensive minded edge, with an emphasis on creativity and quick decision making. This mindset has gotten the team into much more effective and dangerous scoring positions.
Jenny (Newark, CA): Sept 11, SMU was scheduled to play Stanfordand St Louis in its tournament. Most of thetop teams seem to be playing everyone else,but this would have given these three teamsa real chance to see how they matched up.How much did Stanford lose not being ableto play SMU, and how much did men's collegesoccer lose by missing an opportunity tosee how these 3 teams, which could be 3 ofthe Final Four teams, matched up? I know itwas early in the year, but that seems inretrospect like it would have been like theFinal Four.
Derek Shanahan: I can tell you that there is no regret in having cancelled that weekend's games, of course, in light of the nation's events. However, there is no doubt that it would have been a great weekend. Those three teams, as well as a number of other teams around the country, have had exciting seasons. And I'm sure they feel the way we do when I say that we want to play the highest competition, day in and day out. But I don't look at the missed games as a loss to the Stanford program, because it had its trade-offs. Yes, we would have loved to have gone out there and played. So we made the best of it and got in some extra training. Further, we got to play two games against the San Jose Earthquakes in that down-time, a team that has now won the MLS! The experience we got in those two games was priceless, and gave us a self-assurance that we have the ability to play with anyone.
Chris, Santa Rosa: It seems like this year's senior class has a common bond on and off the field with one another much like last season's class. Would you agree?
Derek Shanahan: I definitely agree with your comments. The seniors on the team have put in a lot of hard work together since we got here, with the common goal of helping this program reach its potential. We're all really close friends, which has benefited our cohesion on the field.
TK (SF): Derek- What is the wally award? And have there been any events this year that can shed light on the prestige of such an award?
Derek Shanahan: Hey there bud. As you know, the Wally Award is a prestigious internal award for the program. It has a lot of history behind it, with people in the program contributing to that history every day. While I certainly couldn't give specifics, I do think some of the freshman are making early bids for the Wally. Our trainer has also put in work. And I will say that constant trips to the Pacific Northwest might cash in for our assistant coach, Matt.
Neill Shanahan: Two questions: The team seems to be playing a very fluid, attacking style this year. In particular, what's the difference in midfield strategy this year vs. last.
Derek Shanahan: Hey Dad. First, you're right, our attacking style is arguably more creative and open in comparison to last year. I think the first reason for that is the encouragement players get to be creative with the ball when we're attacking, to never settle for something ineffective. In the midfield, we play with a sitting mid, Abe, and an attacking mid, usually myself, with roles somewhat different than in previous years. The staggering has given us the ability to transition quickly into attack, without sacrificing defensive responsibility. Further, the midfielder (as well as everyone) have put a lot of time into improving ball skill and confidence to give us more tools to work with on the ball.
Derek Shanahan: Ok, I have to run to class. Thank you everyone for participating, and I apologize that I didn't get to every single question. Thank you for the support and I hope to see many of you this weekend at the game!