<b>Q&A With Pete Leebrook, Assistant Soccer Coach</b>
Oct. 29, 2003
Q: Having played in England at the university level, what are some differences you see between England and the U.S. in terms of sports at the university level?
A: 'It is completely different. I played for the national championship three times, and even at the final we'd have one man and his dog at the game. It's not really thought of in high regard, while here it's unbelievable...The football side of it, the crowd...it's amazing to me. Soccer as well, down at Texas we had 2,000 some fans and that's unheard of. We would get that many fans at a professional game.'
Q: What, if any changes in your coaching style have you made since entering the collegiate level?A: 'In the older teams I coached the work is similar; the technical and tactical aspects of the game, management skills. Coaching at WSU in general is like coaching my older teams, but in general there is more organizing, teaching, man management...you have to treat them like young women; it's more of a partnership; a work environment. We put a lot of trust in them, and expect it back.'
Q: What are some obstacles you've come up against since starting your collegiate coaching career? Rules, regulations, ect...
A: 'The NCAA seems to have rules for rules so you need to be very, very weary of whom you're speaking to and what you're saying on the field and at home. I have a lot of people at the club level that I would consider very good friends, but those relationships pretty much need to be severed because I could be in violation of an NCAA rule...There's also a lot that goes on behind the scenes with recruiting, travel, ect...there's a lot more involved than just being a soccer coach or soccer trainer.'
Q: You seem to be quite the comedian, how would you describe your sense of humor?
A: 'I like to play practical jokes; in England we call it winding each other up. I have a lively sense of humor and I'm sarcastic...kind of a dry whit.'
Q: Do you think your jocular manner helps you build a repoire with your players?
A: 'Yes, I think that game is not life or death and I think that there is a lot of pressure on the players in Pac-10 play and hard games. I think humor can help to diffuse the pressure a bit and it relaxes the girls a bit more. However there's a time and a place, but off the field it definitely helps build a repoire with the girls.'
Q: If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
A: 'George Best; he was a very famous soccer player. Pele said he was the best player in the world. He played for Manchester United in Northern Ireland...he was an incredible athlete. He was a great character who probably has great stories both from on and off the field...Tracy (his wife) because we never have the time to go out anymore...Lawrence Taylor, I used to watch him train when he was with NY and they would have their pre-season practice in New Jersey (Leebrook coached there).
Q: What are some English traditions you have introduced or tried to incorporate with your family?
A: 'Well, (laughing) I make sure my daughters pronounce their 't's', and in general I try to teach them table manners...their mum is English-Canadian, so together we try to teach our girls those things...I celebrate Boxing Day which is the day after Christmas. In England it is a celebration day where everybody from the town meets in the local pub. We laugh at each others new socks and ties (laughing), and it's a huge sporting day so we watch the different games that are on.'
Q: Are there any American traditions you like? What do you like about American culture?
A: 'I like the competitiveness and the will to win; in England and I think around the world really competition isn't really emphasized. Here, it's the 'fittest survive' kind of mindset...Also, the standard of living is great; it's best in the world. Pullman, for a family, is ideal to raise a family...Plus, the opportunities in America are great. If you do well you'll be rewarded-if you want to do something you can do it, you just have to work hard.'