Dean's Coach's Corner Blog
Sept. 7, 2007
I am excited about this opportunity to submit a bi-monthly blog which allow me to report the many thoughts and reflections that I have as coach of the UW soccer team. My goal is to write and report information that I hope gives you some insight and keeps you updated with the many happenings that go on with our team during this soccer season. It's my first attempt at such an endeavor so I'm excited to get started with this first report.
One of the special times for me each year is the pre-season training period. It includes two weeks of double day practices, multiple team meetings and one practice game. It's a special time because each pre-season is unique in that it's the start of building a new team and each team creates its own unique atmosphere. This year's team includes many veteran players (seven players in their final season) so the maturity factor on this team is high and very focused. We do have six new freshman players, however, who bring important youth, enthusiasm and of course, moments of comic relief which makes for great team morale and blends the team together.
The coaching staff has much to accomplish in the pre-season period. A few examples of our 2007 staff pre-season goal list include:
1. Create a 'pro atmosphere' which allows us to maximize the short preparation time (16 days) we have to get the team ready for our first match on August 31st and beyond.
2. Use every training session and team meeting to move our team closer to a shot at:
a. Winning the Pac-10 Title
b. Making the 2007 NCAA play-offs
c. Becoming the first Husky team to 'break through' into later rounds of NCAA tournament
3. Provide each team member with an opportunity to show how he can help make a positive impact upon this year's team. Define roles for everyone to make a contribution!
4. Raise each player's level of strength & fitness in order to meet the demands of playing a top D1 college schedule.
5. Practice tempo at game like intensity and quality.
6. Form a new 'team spirit' that blends the returning players experience with the new team members so we come together united with a common goal and purpose.
7. Be sure to implement 'serious fun' into our daily work routines and place a high value on upbeat and positive team morale. 'Fun with discipline is the key!'
Looking back now on the 2007 pre-season period, I feel good that we accomplished most of the above objectives but the work is never done with such a short preparation time and we must continue to improve in order to meet the challenge of the tough game schedule we have ahead of us.
At this point in the season, our record stands a 1-0-1 after being held scoreless in the first game and then exploding for five goals in the second game. Our two senior forwards, Kevin Forrest and Ely Allen, were absolutely magnificent in the second game and for all five goals to come from just the two of them, it helps to give you an idea of just how special they are.
Having had to pleasure to see them develop over the last four years (Kevin is in his fifth fall), it is such a great treat to see them play in 'full bloom' with such great harmony and match effectiveness. I have promised myself to try to enjoy each and every day with them this fall because I know too well that the end of the season will come far sooner than I would like it to.
The team 'theme' for the month of September is 'forming our team and realizing it's potential'. We have seven big games left this month which provide us with great challenge and opportunities to realize more success as a team. We play an incredible five matches in 10 days later this month so we have to call upon every player on our roster to be ready to make a contribution if needed.
Our goal of course is to win as many matches as we can this month while rotating a number of players into the team so we can discover what positions best suit our personnel and what combinations create the strongest team. We are determined to head into Pac-10 play with a team capable of winning it!