Dean's Coaches Corner Journal

Dec. 17, 2009

I wanted to be sure to post this final blog entry for the 2009 season. Finishing the year with a losing record after much planning and considerable effort to do the opposite has certainly been a big disappointment to me personally. Looking at the stats from the season and analyzing the results can reveal some helpful information in regards to things we need to improve upon as we head into the 2010 season.

First, amazing to me is the fact we never won two consecutive games the entire season. A quick glance at the season results from the past confirms that is the first time that has happened in my 18 years of coaching at UW! It seems we could not start any consistent forward team momentum or get on any type of win streak started.

Next, while our record on the road was very respectable (4-2-2) our home record reveals we only had a single win (1-3-4) to our credit. Our home record leading up the 2009 season was 103-31-10. Talk about a deviation! Again, a quick look of the records reveals that's another first-time team stat during my time here at UW.

For the person (coach) who is entrusted with the duty and responsibility to deliver a successful team, seasons like this past one are painful and require much reflection and evaluation as important plans and decisions are made in order to help our team return to the winning ways of the past. The good news is we have completed all of our post-season individual player meetings and much helpful feedback has resulted. The returning players and coaches are in agreement that everyone needs to raise their standards of performance and much work and focus lies ahead for all of us.

Having not reached the NCAA playoffs for two consecutive years now ('08 & '09) we can look to the past for some inspiration. The only other time it has happened since I have been the coach was back in '93 and '94 and then our program put together a streak of seven years in a row into the NCAA tournament including three consecutive conference champions ('98, '99 & '00).

While the overall record for 2009 was well below standards for our program, we can look to a few positives in other areas. First, we did place eight players on the Pac-10 All-Academic Team including four members on the first team (Finch, Hawkins, Phelps and Richards). This type of player recognition does reflect that the program did have positive gains in areas other than the game results.

Second, we also placed three players on the Pac-10 All-Conference Second Team and four others gained Honorable Mention. All three of the second team honorees are returning next season so I'm sure they will help to lead the resurgence we will see in our program.

Another positive from last season were the overall results and form we showed in Pac-10 play. Despite five ties in league play, we only lost two road games and had big wins at Cal and SDSU. It was also encouraging that had we been able to secure a win in our final league game, we would have finished in a tie for second place! Securing critical results like these will be at the top of our priority list for next season.

Finally, I am very grateful this past season for the loyal services of interim assistant coach, Ben Somoza. As most of you know, former Husky and recently retired MLS player, Brandon Prideaux, will come aboard as my assistant in January.

Last summer, I asked Ben to join the coaching staff for the season while Brandon completed his final season in the MLS. Ben was understandably concerned about the prospects of not being able to continue with us in 2010 but decided to go for it and gain the experience along with contribute all he could to the 2009 season.

I can tell you, Ben served the program this past season just like he did during his Husky soccer playing days with great energy, passion and enthusiasm. Ben, your pride and service to the UW soccer program has been noted and I hope I can repay in some way in the near future.

At our team awards banquet this weekend, we will formally close the 2009 season and pay tribute to our six seniors who are all proudly on track for graduation by the end of the academic term. The 2009 season has left us with plenty to improve upon for next year and I am very confident that we will soon rank again among the top programs in the nation. I wish all of you a happy holiday season.



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