Kicking It Around

Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

o behind-the-scenes and on the road with the Fighting Irish women's soccer team to learn what makes them champions.

Ever wondered what it’s like to be part of a three-time national champion? Well, now you can, as starts “Kicking It Around” with the Notre Dame women’s soccer team. Go behind-the-scenes and on the road with the Fighting Irish women’s soccer team to learn what makes them champions. “Kicking It Around” will have updates on everything related to the Fighting Irish women’s soccer program, so stop back here regularly to get your fix on what’s going on at Notre Dame. You can also sign up for any number of official Notre Dame women’s soccer Twitter pages, including head coach Randy Waldrum (@NDCoachWaldrum), assistant coach Ken Nuber (@NDSoccer) and media relations director Chris Masters (@NDsoccernews), as well as the official Fighting Irish women’s soccer Facebook page (go to and search for “Notre Dame Women’s Soccer”) so you’re always in the loop when it comes to the latest information on Notre Dame women’s soccer. And don’t forget to contact Notre Dame’s Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office (574-631-7356, tickets page) to purchase your tickets and join us out at Alumni Stadium as the Fighting Irish defend their latest national championship!

September 12, 2011

— posted by senior defender Ellen Bartindale

EDITOR’S NOTE: Periodically during the 2011 season, we will be offering blog entries from our players with their thoughts on training, matches and more … today, senior defender Ellen Bartindale talks about this past weekend’s trip to the West Coast and two tough matches at #2 Stanford and #17/18 Santa Clara.

It is hard to describe the feeling after a weekend like this. It is like we are almost there, but we just haven’t quite made it yet. We are getting close, and it will just take a little longer to work out the kinks completely.

Friday was a bit shocking. To come so close only to lose the game in the last 10 minutes was hard, and emotions after the game were high. A team takes its cues from the captains, and it was here where I realized, as I do quite often, how lucky we are to have the captains that we have. They took the blame upon themselves, and decided that they were going to change something. They decided that this isn’t how our senior season is going to go, and losses like that will not happen again. It was with this attitude that we left the field. I had a brief reprieve from the upsetting mood when Molly Campbell’s grandma told us that “at least we looked glamorous when we played.” Sometimes that is the perspective that is needed after a hard loss.

Saturday was a rejuvenating day. After a jog, lunch at Red Robin, some stretching, homework out by the pool, and dinner at Macaroni Grill, the team got together for film to look over where we went wrong Friday. Blame is never placed on one person, but it was clear that the fight that we had for 80 minutes was lost in the last 10.

Coach told us at this meeting that we can affect what happens in this next game. If we have ideas for changes that could be made, then we need to be sure to tell him and the coaching staff and it will be taken into consideration.

It was after this meeting that I received a text from Jess, our captain, saying that she needed to talk to me. Jaz and Taylor were both injured, and she came to tell me that there was a chance I would be starting against Santa Clara. As a consistent second-string player, this was obviously exciting and a little scary. Jess told me that she was in my corner and she believed I could do it, and knowing that I had my team behind me helped me realize I could do this.

The Santa Clara game was frustrating in the sense that we didn’t win, but more frustrating because I really think we were the better team. I was lucky to get the start, and though I made mistakes, I was generally pleased with the way I played — and I can accept mistakes knowing that I was doing the very best that I could. Melissa’s goal was one scored based solely on effort, but a 110-minute game came to an unsatisfactory conclusion.

However, a tie is something that we can build off of, and we know that this is a team that has the potential to do great things. With another week of hard work under our belts, we will be ready for Louisville and Cincinnati next weekend.


Ellen #28

September 9, 2011

— posted by senior defender Ellen Bartindale

EDITOR’S NOTE: Periodically during the 2011 season, we will be offering blog entries from our players with their thoughts on training, matches and more … today, senior defender Ellen Bartindale talks about a typical Tuesday training session with the Fighting Irish.

It’s 3:25, probably time to get out of the locker room and onto the field. Grab your ID or else you’ll be locked out. You find someone to make the walk out with, enjoying the sun on your face and the breeze on this perfect fall day in South Bend. Only a few more weeks like this, you remind yourself, because soon the perma-cloud will set in. But for now, you’re happy. It’s a Tuesday, which means running. You had yesterday off so you feel fresh.

You get out to the field, and mess around for a couple minutes, then realize that you should probably do something productive. You get together with a few other defenders to do some one-on-one work before the team warm up begins. You go through a basic warm-up, and it’s time for 5-v-2. The game is relaxed, but still you know that you are being watched. Not in a scary, Big Brother-sort of way, but you know how important it is to keep the ball. It’s the details that will make the difference.

Practice today isn’t competitive games, your favorite, but it is stuff that you know the team needs to work on. You aren’t a starter, but you understand that the way you affect the game is by how you practice. The day you realized this fact was one of liberation — it was not a disappointment, but an epiphany that a team is not just 11 people, but all 26 of you. Practice days are your game days, and you not only understand this, but take pride in it.

The practice ends with running. Coach blows his whistle and you head out to the endline. You stand by the same people that you have run next to since freshman year. You have 18 seconds to get to the far 18-yard line, 30 seconds to get back, and 30 seconds to rest. You know that as long as you get to the half by 10 seconds, you can cruise it in.

The running is hard, but you don’t mind it. You know that you aren’t going to miss your marks, and you know that your teammates will make it as well. If one person lags behind, you know that the rest of your team will get them across the line, even if they are literally pushed through it. You know you are lucky to be here, lucky to be doing something you love at a place you love to be. You are running as a part of a team that you are proud to be on. You are proud to wear the Irish across your chest, and run with a view of the Golden Dome in the distance.

Ellen #28

July 7, 2011

— posted by head coach Randy Waldrum

I just wanted to give you all a few final impressions of the U.S.-Sweden game last night in Wolfsburg.

I came into this World Cup really concerned about our level of play, our player selections, and our system of play.

After getting here and seeing us perform against North Korea and seeing our fitness and energy level, I became much more optimistic. There clearly were some pieces missing, such as the lack of connection between Boxx and Lloyd centrally, the playing of LePeilbet out of position at left back, and playing Cheney out of position at left midfield. However, I looked deeper and saw a strong team chemistry and a team that physically looked as strong, if not stronger than the other teams.

I continued to feel good about this team still having enough pieces to win it all and we still may do that. Resilency is in the DNA of the American player, so the game vs. Brazil will help answer that question. Against a weak Colombia team, we still showed traces of the old national team we all use to know, but hints of problems to come were still there. Our center of defense was caught with players running between and behind us, and our midfield still lacked that “creative schemer”-type player.

Realizing we got our first real test last night vs. Sweden has now brought all my initial concerns back to the forefront. We had no midfield and it’s clear that neither Boxx nor Lloyd provide us with that special player. LePeilbet continues to struggle out wide and our two center backs are slow and often read when to drop too late. Up front, we are busy but clearly lack imagination. After seeing Germany-France-Sweden, its obvious that they clearly have a better understanding of how to play together.

My two big final observations are this. First, regardless of what we all think about the team, why would you not change your formation in the final 10-15 minutes to go get the equalizer? Secondly I believe Pia is trying to fit square pegs in round holes. She would be better suited to play a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 with the players she has. Cheney and O’Reilly can play up front and Rodriquez, Rapinoe, Lindsey, Lloyd and Boxx are all central players. Cox could play left and Krieger right with LePeilbet moving back centrally. O’Hara is a forward as well.

These are just my thoughts and I hope you have enjoyed them. I will do a wrap-up blog and then close out this amazing experience. Until then, Go Irish!

Coach Waldrum

July 5, 2011

— posted by head coach Randy Waldrum

Today started out with three of our NSCAA coaches conducting a practice that was broken up into three 20-minute parts. A member of the DFB German Pro License observed the session. After it was over, he took us into a classroom where two other coaches were assigned to critique the content of the session and their coaching in the session. The Germans call this “the hot seat”. They actually video every session with one camera, and then strictly the coach with a second camera.

The coaches who conducted the session are put in a chair in the front middle of the classroom, and the two coaches who were assigned to critique begin their assignment. When they have finished, the rest of the coaches who were there have input. Then, finally, the DFB instructor gives his analysis. It’s a very meaningful learning tool.

After this, we visited Moenchengladbach and their pro women’s complex. They now use the old training site that the men used, and the fields are really nice. They had a turf field as well as a grass field, a clubhouse, locker rooms, etc. I’ve attached some pictures for all to see. Christian, their strength “Coahuila” took us through some conditioning exercises, and then Kyle, the head coach, took us through a short practice. It’s always good to see how others are doing things.

We finished off the night watching Germany play France in what proved to be a very exciting second half. The game was won by Germany, 4-2, but the French clearly exposed Germany on corner kicks. Both teams rested some players as they both had already advanced. From what I saw, the French can be very dangerous in the attack, although somewhat suspect in defense. They are very athletic and have special players in the right positions. The Germans are methodical, organized, and play with a good soccer IQ. However, they too are weak centrally in the back. Their flair or creative players are actually out wide for them in the 4-2-3-1 formation. Grings is quality up top and they are clinical with their finishing.

France will play its quarterfinal without its keeper who was ejected, so not sure how much that will affect them against England — I still think they will advance. I would also pick the Germans to defeat Japan in the other quarterfinal on that side of the bracket.

After seeing both these teams first-hand, I still think the U.S. will win. Germany would clearly have an edge playing in their home country, and if allowed to get a playing rhythm, they could be dangerous and win it all for the third time in a row. However, I think we are still physically stronger than them, and I’m not sure they can handle us defensively. Let’s hope we get to see it!

July 4, 2011

— posted by head coach Randy Waldrum

Today, we visited the SportsLab of FC Cologne, a pro team in the top division of the Bundesliga. As if I thought we were behind with our youth system, I found that we are also miles behind in the technology area especially as it relates to pro teams!

FC Cologne modeled their program after one they had seen at AC Milan of Italy. They check and measure every physical attribute of a player, including things like speed, strength, agility, and flexibility. They also measure mental aspects and every player is measured and checked once they enter the club as a youth player all the way through their career as a pro. Their studies show most players have 40 peaks during the year, but by measuring, monitoring, and working on these areas they can improve these peaks to 80 per year.

We walked into this concrete building at the Cologne training center and it seriously looked like some kind of a nuclear bunker. This place houses a company that works exclusively with Cologne and is called the SportsLab and Scouting Department. Inside there were 5 people (although they normally have 8) who were at their computers watching games from all over the world analyzing video. It was amazing!

This company does almost all the scouting and video analyses for the club and provides the results to their the coaching and management staff. They analyze 5 parts. Now you must understand that every practice and every game for every age is being videotaped and analyzed. This is done daily and weekly every week!

1) Video Analysis – they have 35 people working on the analysis. They track distances covered in matches, high speed runs, variations of the type of movements, etc. Their studies have shown in European Championships that the teams that ran the most won 76.3 percent of the time. Then they take this data to improve these areas with the players.
2) Opponent Preparation – they track all opponents over the past 3 matches to see who is injured in the team, who is in the team, what system are they playing, if a player is playing out of position due to injuries, etc. They also collect all set piece situations, which they call ” standard situations”, and then they come up with solutions for the players and teams.
3) Performance – they track everything that can be measured regarding performance in the physical area.
4) Video Scouting – they have access to 250 games per week from leagues all around the world and they have a staff of interns who track and follow players in each of these leagues. These interns speak different languages, so if their is a game in Spain, then an intern who speaks the language is responsible for the Spanish League. Same thing with Portugal, Finland, or any other country where they are tracking players. When an intern starts to find top players who are rising, they pass along to the coaching staff who now get involved in the process. This saves money by not having to send scouts all over the world.
5) Analyze The Pass Balance – they do this over several games to see where the ratio of success lies. They break the season down in quarters to compare. All of this data is centralized in on location so the coaches can log on and have access to this info any time without having to track all these various people down. They have these SportsLabs in most of Europe, Central and South America, and this company works exclusively with Cologne. They know of every young player and all the details of these young players very early on. So these various types of analyses are being done at all levels, and all around the world! They even know the transfer market value of every player around the world, including our own MLS. They can then determine when to buy a young player to possibly sell later for a profit … it’s simply amazing.

This is a small bit of info and there is so much more that it does. Just wanted to give you an idea of the level of technology they are incorporating. And by the way, this info can be sent to every players iPad each week so they can see themselves as well as watch video.

That’s all for tonight … going to see France vs. Germany tomorrow after a visit to Moenchengladbach. Go Irish!!

Coach Waldrum

July 3, 2011 Part III

We started our morning off with a lecture on “scouting opponents” by Janet Rayfield, who is here scouting for U.S. Soccer. She not only went into detail about how they scout at U.S. Soccer, but she also shared one of her reports on Brazil. It was quite interesting as we were able to watch Brazil play Norway earlier tonight. I’d have to say she did an excellent job in scouting them!

We then traveled to Leverkusen, where we had full access to tour the stadium. The NSCAA and Frank Tschan (our rep here in Germany) did an outstanding job on this tour. We have had unbelievable access to so much on the “inside” workings of football in Germany. The stadium tour was no exception. The stadium was actually closed to the public today, but we got in! It was amazing and I hope you all have seen some of the pictures I’ve taken of the stadium (see them in my previous entry below this one).

What I couldn’t take pictures of was the room they call “The Factory”. It’s a $2.5 million fitness center that includes state-of-the-art weight equipment, rehab machines, etc. They have a huge, what looked like, three- or four-lane treadmill that’s in an oxygen chamber so they can altitude train up to 5,000 feet! In addition, they have two large rooms that look like a sauna. It is an ICE ROOM where the can take the temperature down through nine levels reaching a temperature of minus-110 degrees Celsius. This is a recovery room for post training or games and it increases the circulation. They swear by it and even Kobe Bryant has a personal one in his home in L.A.

At lunch break, we heard from the man in charge of the women’s pro team there, and he gave us the history of the women’s team at Leverkusen. Interesting that the reason they started a women’s team was because they needed to do so in order to host games in the Women’s World Cup here in Germany. So in 2008, they formed a women’s team. Then the head coach came in and met with us to discuss their methods, their history, their league, and where they are today.

After this we went and watched them play a game. So in all a very interesting day. Tonight we had off which quite honestly was much needed. We have been on the go nonstop since we have arrived.

Tomorrow we will conduct a team management discussion, and then off to Cologne where their coaches will let us attend a practice … can’t wait! Go Irish!

Coach Waldrum

July 3, 2011 Part II

— posted by head coach Randy Waldrum

The U.S. continues to gain momentum as they thoroughly dominated Colombia. Now keep in mind, Colombia has really only been playing women’s soccer for about 8 years, so they have made huge strides in the past three years! Also they are very young much like North Korea, which had a 16-year-old, a 17-year-old, and several 20-year-olds playing against us.

I really thought our defending was good. We really were connected, and our scouting must have been really good. We kept a very high back line — whether it was because we didn’t fear their pace to get behind us, or whether they felt that Colombia had no players that could technically hit a longer pass — in either case, it really compacted the space for Colombia.

I felt we were unfortunate not to be up by four early in the first half. Our finishing needs to improve, especially regarding our composure in the box. We hit several shots early when no defender was within yards of us. Both Wambach and Rodriguez should have done better on a few occasions. Having said that, both O’Reilly and Rapinoe scored world class goals!

Both O’Reilly and Rapinoe were impressive to me. I think Pia has some decisions to make regarding Rapinoe. Does she deserve to be in our 11? If so, at whose expense? Her other decision is what to do with LePeilbet and Cheney together on the same side. At practice after the opening game, Pia told us these two needed to play together as much as possible as these positions were new to them. Yet she took LePeilbet out and moved Cheney up front. Does this mean she may be re-thinking that pairing?

I continue to like Krieger, and feel that Rampone and Buehler are a decent tandem in the middle of the park. I do worry that Colombia were able to get between Christie and Rachel on a couple of occasions, so this back line still worries me as the team progresses. That said, there clearly is enough talent to win it all.

I am still concerned about us centrally in midfield as well. I think this is one of the most concerning areas for me. We are limited in options and the pairings so far haven’t been great. On a positive note, we are still creating chances — we have scored 5 goals and conceded 0!

I’m very anxious to see us against Sweden, which will be much better competition. I’ll be very curious as to the player decisions Pia makes moving forward, as this may give us an idea of her thoughts going into the knockout phase.

I’ll also see France vs Germany and will have a much better idea of how we stack up against the best in the world after that.

Off to visit Leverkusen and their club … as always, Go Irish!

Coach Waldrum

July 3, 2011 Part I

— posted by head coach Randy Waldrum

Many of those following me on Twitter (@NDCoachWaldrum) have asked to know more about my comments regarding the German youth system, and why I said it’s no wonder we are behind. I apologize for the short blog yesterday regarding this, but I had very little time to write. I’ll try to explain in more detail now.

We had the opportunity yesterday to listen to a presentation on the German youth system presented by Daniel Niedzkowski who works for the DFB in the German pro license. He outlined the structure for us, and I’d like to highlight a few areas that I think may be of interest.

You must first understand that the German youth are governed by the DFB and the DFL (the Bundesliga). So there is only one body or organization, meaning all Germans are in line with the development program presented by the DFB. We simply don’t have that in the United States with US Soccer, USYS, US club, ECNL, the Academy program, etc., all taking their own path towards development. There is no unified structure for development. We simply have these huge leagues that really only govern schedules, tournaments, and rules regarding transfers of players. There is no development structure in place.

On the contrary, the Germans have the same leagues, teams, and player transfers, but more importantly they have a “development” program for players of every age. They have 366 Regional bases for development (which is beyond just normal team training) with over 1,000 coaches and 29 coordinators to work with and identify players that should be pushed forward. They have 45 Centers of Excellence with 200 full-time coaches as the next level of training and developing their players. They have 28 Elite Football Schools (7 for women) in which the top players train in addition to their clubs. Could you imagine what we could do in the U.S. if we were this organized?

Also, there is an understanding and attitude in the youth teams that one club doesn’t go after a player on another club without contacting the club coach first. Having said this, the coaches also encourage their players to move to a higher level team when they are ready. Can you imagine a coach for a top club in Dallas, for example, telling one of his players that they should leave his team and go to a competitor? Or better yet calling the coach of a competitor asking permission to talk to one of his players? But Germany is ALL about the player, not what is best about the coach or team. Player development is foremost in their mind.

There is also a certification of Youth Academies in Germany. There is a group from the DFB who do surprise visits to the clubs and they evaluate and rate all aspects of the club including finances, facilities, marketing, websites, player development, and coaching. The clubs are rated and at the end of the year each club rates so many points. Then the clubs that rate the highest get a larger portion of a pool of money that the DFB sets aside for youth team. Those that rate low get less money.

I’d love to see some sort of certification for our youth clubs around the country, so one could truly see what’s going on, and one know which clubs are truly doing things right.

A few other quick differences are that in Germany the girls are allowed to play with boys up to 17 years of age. Now they mostly play in one age group down, but many of the current WWC players for Germany have been playing on boys teams.

Another point regarding training and games — the average 16-year-old in the U.S. is playing an average of 70 games per year. In Germany, that average is 40. This means the ratio of actual training to games in the U.S. is 2:1, where in Germany it is 5:1!! That means the average 16-year-old in Germany is getting much more training than our American players. No wonder we are behind … again, it’s about player development in Germany.

I’ve never seen a culture that truly puts the player first like I have here in Germany. I can’t imagine coaches in the States working together from club to club like they do here. Also the government in Germany funds sports, so the players only pay a couple of hundred Euros to play versus the thousands our kids play. The facilities are funded by and maintained by the government, so they are first class and can be used by all.

These difference have made me realize this country is truly immersed in its football. They don’t have crazy NCAA rules to follow that are detrimental to player development. They don’t have non-soccer people running their youth organizations, and they don’t have multiple organizations competing with each other. It’s one unified structure. I can only dream of a day when we get back to putting the player first! We talk a good game, but we often really don’t have this as our first priority.

Hope you have enjoyed a few of these comments … I’ll have some separate thoughts on the U.S. win over Colombia shortly … Go Irish!

Coach Waldrum

July 1, 2011

— posted by head coach Randy Waldrum

This morning (which I think is Friday!), we had a lecture from April Heinrichs, the former U.S. National Team coach and currently the technical director for women’s soccer in the United States. It was a very informative discussion on the direction of the U.S. national teams and, of course, the proposed ideas regarding player development. I believe for the first time that we are headed in the right direction with a plan that has some merit to it.

We need to remember our challenges that other countries don’t face, such as we are a nation of 330 million people competing with countries of 30-50 million. While this provides us with more players to choose from, it’s also much more difficult to get our youth coaches to buy into our methodology. Then the sheer size presents many obstacles as well. These were just a sampling of the discussion we had with April, and as I mentioned she was fantastic in her presentation.

We are on the field in 20 minutes where Nancy Feldman and I will present a practice … so I had better go for now … Go Irish!

Coach Waldrum

June 30, 2011

— posted by head coach Randy Waldrum

I’m on a brief lunch break now, so I wanted to quickly update you all on my morning. We had the opportunity to have a classroom and field session with Frank Wormuth, who is the head of the pro license of the DFB (German football federation). He was extremely engaging and his sessions were excellent!

His topic was “The Big Game and How It’s Decided in Little Details”. Interesting, but Germany is going through some cultural transition regarding their coaching philosophy. He spoke of the German mentality over the years to being just about winning, and not so concerned with how they got there. Now they are using the idea of “the way is the aim”. In other words, the methods of achieving the aim or the goal is what is important. He then proceeded to show video regarding some changes in both their defending and attacking mindset.

Frank then took us to the field and put us through a series of exercises to teach these concepts that were discussed in the classroom. I’ve already picked up some new ideas and information for the Irish!

This afternoon, we are back in the classroom and on the field for more of the pro license … this has been outstanding. Until later, Go Irish!

Coach Waldrum

June 29, 2011

— posted by head coach Randy Waldrum

Just a few thoughts about the opening U.S. game vs North Korea … as you see through my pictures (see below), the seats were front row. We could literally reach out and touch the players warming up! Thank you NSCAA for taking care of us, and to Frank Tschan who made all the arrangements here in Germany.

Seeing the game live gives a much different perspective than television. The U.S. was strong, athletic, and very impressive physically. Watching the warm-ups, one could see the North Koreans were better technically, so from the onset, the question for me was could the U.S. impose its physical qualities on North Korea, or would the North Korea be able to pass and make the U.S. chase? The answer came from the opening kickoff — the U.S. would succeed in imposing their brand on North Korea. The U.S. made some late changes, starting Lauren Cheney at left outside midfield instead of Megan Rapinoe, and by playing Amy LePeilbet at left back instead of centrally. We had a chance to speak with (U.S. head coach) Pia (Sundhage) today after the game, and she gave some great insights as to why. She was very candid, and due to her generosity in sharing with our NSCAA coaches, I’ll keep her comments private.

This move provided a different type wide player for the U.S., as Cheney continued to drive inside centrally with the ball instead of up the flanks. This was a bit more creative than we’ve seen in the past with midfielders who have been stagnant and predictable in previous friendlies. In fact, Cheney created three great scoring chances for herself in the first half alone! However, I felt the midfield in general never really connected the game. (Shannon) Boxx and (Carli) Lloyd were not great playing with each other, and (Heather) O’Reilly struggled the whole game until substituted for late. At times, the partnership of (Amy) Rodriguez and (Abby) Wambach looked good, and yet they also seemed to not have the continuity together yet. The back line struggled as a unit with LePeilbet looking very out of sorts as an outside back. I did like (Ali) Krieger and her game has clearly improved while playing professionally in Germany.

The concern I have as the games progress is that of the left side. North Korea exposed it many times and could have scored several times from that flank alone. Cheney is a bit naive defensively, and when she drives inside, it leaves LePeilbet exposed even more when countered. It will be interesting to see if Pia continues to work on that pair together on the left, or if she may consider moving O’Reilly to the left and Cheney on the right. At least you wouldn’t have two inexperienced players playing out of position on the same side.

A move was made at halftime that I credit Pia for, and that was to push Wambach out wide on the left up front, which forced the North Korean outside midfielder and outside back to stay home more, thus taking some pressure off our left side. Also, Abby got much more of the ball from this wider position. She had a great cutback move and assist on the first goal.

North Korea surprised me by playing more direct than I expected. I think the would have been better suited to possess the ball moving it quickly to make us chase the game. They also seemed to never fully take advantage of our weaknesses, often leaving huge gaps between their strikers and the two central midfield players. The (North Korean) number seven often dropped deep into midfield to get the ball, but was bypassed to play long into the number nine who often was by herself.

Defensively, they dropped very deep in front of a suspect goalkeeper. They often were next to players defensively, but wouldn’ t engage … too much time on the ball in dangerous positions. Result — a 2-0 win for the U.S., and relatively easy at the end of the day. There is so much more to say, but it’s late here.

I will leave it with this after seeing the first game. In spite of the concerns I mentioned above, the U.S. looked fit, hard, intense, and very ready to play. The German papers are already talking about how much better we looked than Germany in their opener. I had reservations about this team after our friendly games against England, Mexico, and Norway. But after seeing them at the game, and then this morning at training, they seem to have a great spirit and team chemistry … reminds me of another team that won a championship last fall! I feel much better about our chances now…Don’t forget to follow me and our other Twitter accounts at the addresses listed at the top of this page for added updates from the 2011 World Cup!

Go Irish!

Coach Waldrum

June 28, 2011

— posted by head coach Randy Waldrum

After beginning my travel day Sunday at 5 a.m. in South Bend, I traveled by bus to Chicago, by plane to New Jersey on to Hamburg, and then to Cologne. From there I caught two trains to Hennef which is our home base.

My trip started with a slight problem. Continental didn’t book me all the way through to Cologne, so when I arrived in Hamburg I had one hour to go thru customs and get and additional ticket to Cologne, and then get thru security again! Made it with minutes to spare.

Yesterday, I watched a functional training session which is part of the German Pro License. This course has about 25 candidates, many of whom are German international stars. I’m within touching distance from players like Mehmet Scholl, Christian Worns, and Stefan Effenberg. Pictures to come later!

These guys are engaged in a 10-month license program spending 4 days a week at the Sportschule in Hennef, and 3 days a week with their clubs … for 10 months! How about that for intense study and training? More on the course later — and by the way it costs $15,000!

This morning, we got up and bused 7 hours to Dresden where we had front row seats to the U.S.-North Korea game. The U.S. looked athletic and physical, and in the end, they won rather handily 2-0. More on the game later.

I ran into Mia Hamm and got a photo (which you can see below). I also ran into that other college team that wears sky blue who are touring during the World Cup. We will be meeting with former U.S. National Team coach April Heinrichs tomorrow morning to get her thougts on the North Korea game, as well as her insights on her plans as the new technical director for youth development at U.S. Soccer. I’ll keep you posted! It’s after midnight here so I’ll call it a night. Don’t forget to follow me and our other Twitter accounts at the addresses listed at the top of this page for added updates from the 2011 World Cup!

Go Irish!

Coach Waldrum