March 14, 2003
Q: In your mind, what are the three most important components to building a new program?
A: First, it's crucial for us to get the word out so that the Cleveland metropolitan area, and local soccer community knows all about our program and its goals. Second, we must identify the right type of student-athlete for our program, and CSU as a whole, so that we can go about creating sound team chemistry right from the start. Third, we need to establish a good, solid schedule that is exciting for the fans and filled with as many natural rivalries as possible.
Q: Realistically, how long will it take to be competitive in the Horizon League?
A: We are going to work hard so that we will be able to actually compete with the league right from the start. With the fantastic lead time that we have to recruit for the 2004 entering freshmen class, our goals for the first two years will be to put our best foot forward, and see where we stand against the best in the Horizon League. By year three, we hope that we have done the right things so that we can contend for the conference championship.
Q: When you are out recruiting, what qualities do you look for?
A: Strictly speaking about soccer and athleticism, we look for versatile and athletic players. With a new program, we can't be too specific about finding one-dimensional players because we will have to be creative at times in our play. Not to mention, that to be a good fit for our field and its dimensions, it will be imperative that we put a premium on those players that can cover ground well. Secondly, I've found over my career that it's crucial to find a core of players who have a strong internal fire and never give up on winning the ball or making runs. So we'll do our best to find those program-maker type players. And lastly, I feel strongly about my teams and their ability to possess the ball so we'll look long and hard for players that can play successfully under pressure. If we can find enough players in those categories we'll be able to hit the field with a strong start.
Q: How do you think your roster will look when the team first takes the field in 2004?
A: We're already working very heavily on recruiting in the Northeast Ohio area. If we can build a large portion of the roster out of local talent it will be easier to keep that same area talent in town in the future years. However, the state of Ohio as a whole is really very strong in youth soccer and I suspect that we will be well represented by student-athletes from all across the state. Having recruited in the Midwest the past couple of years, I also hope that we'll be able to bring in a few key players from out of state as well. Basically, we want to do the best possible job to keep Northeast Ohio players right here and fill in and around with the next best players possible.
Q: What do you think will be your greatest challenge in the next couple of months?
A: Right now it's all about recruiting, recruiting, and more recruiting so getting out and seeing as many potential CSU Vikings as possible is the goal! The challenge is most likely going to be overcoming the problem of needing to be in more than one place at a time. We're also working on finishing up the 2004 schedule as well, which will give us a very good idea of the type of competition we'll need to ready for once it's time to compete.
Q: Describe your general coaching philosophy.
A: My coaching philosophy has been built over the years to the point where I believe strongly in creating an environment that is competitive and honest for the players. I work diligently to create strong daily opportunities for my players to compete and learn how to do the right things in order to succeed. I also feel that the best thing to do is work with each player to find their own individual strong points that they can bring to field everyday. Soccer is a wonderful game that puts a premium on the players being creative and able to make a variety of decisions in split seconds, so to prepare for that I do my best to help players learn how to read the game and anticipate what their next decision should be. I feel if I can put a team on the field that is proactive, then we'll have a chance to win frequently. Lastly, and probably not least, is that successful soccer is built on a solid fitness base. So I constantly find creative and effective ways to build a very fit team. Getting and staying in shape takes work and is not easy, but the reward for a fit team is that you have the chance to play well at the end of the game and hopefully into the post-season.