Women’s Soccer kicking back into shape

Soccer just kicked two weeks out of their three for the spring season. This has been the first official practice run under the new head women’s soccer coach Joe Sagar, and so far there is nothing but positive things to say about him. In an interview with Quinn Bingham, a freshman on the women’s soccer team, I asked her how she felt about having the new coach and what has changed. She responded by saying, “I really like that the new coach keeps the intensity level of drills very high while still being able to put emphasis on technical skills. With drills being high intensity, we are able to work on improving fitness as a team without having to simply run.” I asked Quinn what she was looking forward to with Coach Sagar, and I believe she is speaking for all of us when she says, “I am looking forward to what feels like a fresh start and being able to put the results of last season behind.” It is no secret that our record last year was devastating, but by having this new coach I believe he helped switch our mindsets into believing anything is possible. He invokes hope, and that is the mentality that we will bring with us in the fall. Quinn believes the soccer team will benefit from Coach Sagar because of his qualities, such as his enthusiasm and the fact that he believes in us. By Sagar bringing in this positive energy, it motivates us to give it our all on the field, whether it be in practices or in our games in the fall. That being said, no one is perfect, everyone has something they can work on, whether that be fitness, or good first touches, or being more vocal on the field, so I asked Quinn what she hoped to gain from the new coach. Bingham said, “I think personally Coach Joe will help me learn to be more technical with the ball next season. He seems to put a lot of emphasis on learning to be comfortable with the ball and execute moves. I am also excited that Coach Joe has a background in goalkeeping because I know it was hard on our keeper to not have anyone that could train her specifically.” Bingham brought up a good point, the fact that Joe used to be a keeper is extremely beneficial for us because last year our keeper did not have much guidance. Now this coming year, not only will the team as a whole be more prepared, but the extra knowledge that Joe knows from being a keeper will make our keepers better and more equipped on the field than if he were not present. Every team has its struggles, so I asked Quinn to highlight what she thinks to be the team’s greatest strength and their greatest weakness. Quinn said, “I think our team’s greatest weakness is the small number. It is very hard to play soccer well with such few people because that means that almost every player will play for the whole 90 minutes without a sub, and many players are forced to play through injuries, therefore prolonging them. I think our greatest strength is the team dynamic and closeness of players. We are friends on and off the field, and this trust is needed when playing a team sport.”

In an interview with Coach Joe I asked him what skills he believes he would bring to the women’s soccer team and he said experience. He has a strong background, but what sets him apart from others is his experience in working with student services, which allows him to see students as more than just athletes, but students as well. I asked Coach Sagar what his coaching style is and why he believes it is the best method to use, and he responded by saying, “My coaching style is passionate. I enjoy coaching and being around people who want to get better. If players see that the coach is really passionate, then they will be too, and you also gain respect from the athletes when you handle it that way.” I asked Joe the big question next, “what do you love the most about soccer?” His answer was surprising and something I never thought about before, and yet was truthfully beautiful. He said, “The fact that it can bring so many people together from different lives and the drama that it can create in a manner of seconds. Soccer, unlike most sports, is easier to connect with than others because of its simplicity.” So this idea that people who do not know each other are connected through this bond that comes with supporting a team, but the fact that soccer has more room and freedom for the creativity component than most other sports makes it more universal and creates this web of interconnectedness, because you do not need to know certain plays in soccer. Nothing is set in stone, you just play. Regarding the soccer team’s goals for the future, Coach Sagar says, “My goal for spring season is to try and improve the technical ability of the group as a whole.” His goal for the women’s soccer team for the summer is to come in fit and ready to play in the fall. He says, “The biggest threat is if the team is not fit.” His goal for our fall season is for us to “be more competitive against the teams we play.” He is a process-oriented person and believes that “if you do things the right way, the results will come.”