What are your impressions of the team after the end of spring practice?
We actually had a very productive spring season. Many players who didn’t play as much in the fall were able to get quality minutes this spring. It was nice to see the improvement in players such as Kerri Bakker, Iris Lancaster, Kelly Tulisiak as well as Lindsey Jones and Mia Sarkesian. One area in which we need some improvement is our speed of play. Our group of incoming freshmen will add to our overall team speed, which also is needed. All in all, I am very impressed with the character of this team and its chemistry.
What are your goals for the 1999 season?
Our goals will be, very simply, to win the NCAA championship. Chris Petrucelli in his nine years here built a national power with great tradition and there is no need for us to lower our standards now.
What are your long-term goals for the Notre Dame women’s soccer program?
I believe our long term goals will be to continue each year as a national soccer power. I also believe it’s part of our soccer mission to continue to produce national team players so that the growth of women’s soccer can continue to evolve in the way that it has over the past 10 years. I strongly believe we have an obligation to continue to graduate our student-athletes and to provide an environment which will allow them to become successful and productive in society once their playing careers are over.
How would you characterize your teams in terms of their style of play?
I very much prefer to have “soccer players.” What I mean by this is that I want very technical and tactical players. Then, with these qualities, I always look at a player’s speed, athleticism, etc. It’s when all these pieces fit together that we can play a nice passing game. Knowing when to possess the ball and when to counterattack is so important at the next level. This is the style I’ve tried to convey to my team. Understand, however, that this style or any style should be dictated by the type of players on a team.
What interested you in coming to Notre Dame?
I became interested in coming to Notre Dame simply because it is Notre Dame. I believe the tremendous history that accompanies Notre Dame is a remarkable selling point for this institution.
Talk about your involvement with the U.S. national team.
I had the great fortune many years ago to meet coach Bob Gansler who was at the time the Director of Coaching for US Soccer. He granted me a place on the national coaching staff which in turn has led to my involvement with our U.S. national teams. Lauren Gregg, our under-21 national team coach, was kind enough to allow me to come into training camp and assist her with this current team. I have assisted Gregg on several different camps and games. Most recently, I assisted in Orlando in February when the U.S. under-21 national team played Finland’s national team, which included Notre Dame’s Anne Makinen. It was in the national team environment where I first met Meotis Erikson, Kara Brown, Jen Grubb, Jenny Streiffer and LaKeysia Beene, all of whom play for both Notre Dame and the under-21 national team. I have since assisted Shannon Cirovski with the under-18 national team as well.
What influential figures have helped shape your soccer career?
I’ve been blessed with my experiences with US Soccer to have been around some of the best coaches in the U.S. as well as some of the top international coaches in the world. However, if I had to single out the most influential soccer figure that helped shape my career, it would have to be a youth coach of mine named Simon Sanchez. He was the epitome of what coaching is all about. I could go into detail about all of his qualities but it would take too long. He is, however, the person who gave me the passion for the game as a player and coach. He had such a love for the game and such a wonderful quality to be able to translate this passion to his players. Unfortunately, Simon passed away recently and all I have left are his memories and, of course, my passion for the game which he gave me. That part will be with me forever.