Weekly Coach Needham Interview

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /var/www/ on line 33. Weekly Coach Needham Interview Weekly Coach Needham Interview :: 10/28/10 How has this week's practice gone after coming off the long trip to Hawai'i?
Michael Needham: It was good. We took an extra day's rest. We took Tuesday off, got back, had a good session yesterday and today was a pregame session, pretty light, tried to score some goals and get the kids excited and then be ready to go tomorrow night. What has the energy level been like this week from your kids knowing that you still have a shot at the making the tournament versus if you had come back not having a shot?
MN: I think the energy level is good. I think even if we were mathematically eliminated, we would still be playing for a lot so I don't think the emotion has changed that much in that I think we want to send our seniors off on the right note, we want to finish the year on a win and that's very important if the scenarios don't work out for us. I think winning is important to us. The other big note is that we're 7-7-3 and for us to continue making our progress and doing what we're doing, to win on Friday night and go to 8-7-3 and secure a winning record for 2010 is definitely something our kids find important so I think the energy level would have been good either way. But it's definitely better still having a chance. You win and then we come inside and start checking results. That'll be fun, hopefully it's fun, and then you go from there but really I think the big focus is beating LA Tech.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Needham Interview :: 09/30/10 Heading into conference play on Friday, give me your thoughts on the first half of the season?
Michael Needham: First half has been good. To come out 6-2-2 is good. The two games that we tied I felt like we could have won but other than that the results were about where they should be. The two losses on our schedule, we lost to two good teams and we learned from both of those which is the important thing. We actually took something from it. We did just lose a game, we took something from it. Great example was this past weekend, Friday we lose to a good Northern Colorado team and then go out and play much much better against Wyoming on Sunday and get that win. I think we learned a lot and now we've got to apply that in conference. What were some of the goals that you set for the team for the first half of the season and which ones did you meet?
MN: I think with a young group it's important for me not to overwhelm these guys with too many goals and too many expectations and things like that. The biggest thing we talked about was it being a situation where we were playing preseason and the goal was to be playing our best soccer by the time we got to Nevada. We still haven't peaked yet and I think we still have a lot of really good stuff in front of us. I think we've achieved the goals we set for them and now the goal is pretty simple, just take care of business and get to the conference tournament.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Needham Interview :: 09/22/10 How have your practices been this week in preparation for Northern Colorado and Wyoming?
Michael Needham: Yesterday is always a competition day and a fitness day so I think it was good. They came out and competed and battled and that's what we ask them to do on Tuesdays. I'm happy with that. Today we'll get into a bit more tactical situations. One of the things that I noticed on the first goal in Sunday's game and a few of the goals from Friday's game against Alabama A&M is that when your kids are getting opportunities in front of the net, they're not trying to pound the ball into the back of the net, instead they're hitting a bit softer shot. How much of that is a learning process from what happened on Yolanda McMillion's shot against Northern Arizona?
MN: I think it's just getting more comfortable in front of the goal is what it is. We talk a lot about as the season goes on, you're going to get some chances and you're going to get chances to score and you've got to put those on the frame. Either mat the goal keeper make a save or you've just got to tuck it away and you can't allow chances like that to go passing. So, it's not so much any focus on what's happened in the past, it's more of what's going to happen in the future. Looking at the goal scoring chances we have, we have some pretty athletic kids up front who can get behind people and cause problems there. If we're going to get into those areas, we've got to make sure we're scoring goals when we get there.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Needham interview :: 09/15/10 You mentioned on Friday night after the game that you were going to be getting back to basics this week in practice, how has that been going?
Michael Needham: It's been good. We addressed some things from the games last week that we needed to do better, from the North Dakota and Northern Arizona game before that. Our kids came out and responded. We gave them two days off after North Dakota and the last two days of training have been exactly what and where we needed to be.

I think the biggest things that we addressed were competing all over the field and a willingness to do the hard work, getting up in the air and winning balls in the air, win knockdowns and second balls and really commit to doing that. So in the last two days it's been a lot of hard work and training but the kids have stepped up and gotten it done and we're looking forward to playing another team. Friday night you take on Alabama A&M who has struggled a little bit this season.
MN: It'll be a fun night. That'll be our first AggieVision game and the kids are excited about playing on t.v. and that part. Really at this point in the year we're worried about what we do, not what the other team does. We're going to look to put together a pretty complete performance from first minute to 90th minute. To this point we've put together at times 60 to 75 minutes but I think this one will be a collective effort for 90 minutes.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Needham Interview :: 09/09/10 Your thoughts on tomorrow's game against North Dakota?
Michael Needham: It's a single game weekend for us so that's good. We're looking forward to going out and getting after it on Friday. It's an opportunity for us to continue building on what I feel like what was a very good weekend last weekend. It's another opportunity to go out and apply what things we picked up last weekend. Does your preparation change at all for a single game weekend as opposed to a two game weekend which is what you normally have?
MN: Preparation, not much. Expectations are a little bit different. You can go after a game a little bit differently. My preparation in terms of what I might do in the game might be a little bit different. But as far the players, it doesn't change too much. A single game weekend allows you to stick with people a little bit longer because you don't have to worry about playing again on Sunday. It allows you to do some things going forward and kind of push it a little bit, maybe go a little longer with certain players and try to impose yourself a little bit more.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Needham Interview :: 09/02/10 You take on rival UNM on Friday night, the first meeting between the two programs, they're an established program with good tradition.
Michael Needham: We're excited about going up there. It'll be a game we play every year and the first one will be special. I'm looking forward to a great environment. I think we should have a huge crowd there tomorrow night. They always draw good crowds. They've been around for a little while and they've done a good job and I'm sure it'll be pretty hostile and definitely a fun one to play in. Having been an assistant at UNLV, how much of an advantage is that for your team since you're more familiar with their style of play than against an opponent who you've never seen before?
MN: I don't know how much of an advantage that is. I know Kit and Jorge pretty well and they know me pretty well but every year, if you're a good coach and I consider myself a good coach, you're going to be a little bit different. The players are going to be a little bit different. If I had played them last year then I could say, "Okay, now I know some of their players."

In playing them four years ago when I was at UNLV, they're a far different team and a far different program. They've done a nice job of building that thing. I have ideas of how they might play but the player personnel is the thing that really changes all the time.  Continue Reading This Post >> Coach Needham Interview :: 08/16/10 How did Friday's Crimson and White scrimmage turn out?
Michael Needham: It went well, it went real well. The game was very even and the kids were all competing. We're still trying to figure out what's going to be the right combination of players and the right group for playing UTEP on Friday. It was a good runout and it was a good chance to see the kids in a game environment."

Even though it was against ourselves I felt that it was pretty competitive. The pressure could have been a little bit better. There wasn't quite as much defensive pressure as I would have liked in terms of preparing us to play a rivalry game next Friday. At the same time you're playing against your teammates and you play a little bit differently anyway. All in all it was good. We got through it healthy which is the most important part. We had a some great performances from a lot of kids and got exactly what we wanted out of it. What have been the differences starting year two versus year one?
MN: The first thing, and it's very similar to last year, the first thing we're looking for in preseason is for our group to come together as a team and to get to know each other a little bit. I think they've done that really well. I'll credit my returning players on that. Any time there's going to new players, they were all new players last year, any time you bring in a new group of players and you're trying to incorporate them and get them going, you're trying to make them as comfortable as possible as quickly as possible. All credit to our returning players. They've been great to the incoming kids. They realize that both groups of players, both the returning players and the incoming players, are all going to contribute to this effort. They've treated them very much as equals and not made life real difficult on them as a group of freshmen. That was the first thing, come together.   Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Needham Interview :: 11/11/09 :: Season Wrap Up Your thoughts on the season overall?
Michael Needham: The season overall was a lot of different things. It was exciting, it was emotional, it was fantastic. There's a lot of things about it. The biggest thing is I think we laid a great foundation for what this program will do in the future. Going back to the North Texas match when I spoke after the match you expressed that normally you looked forward to a day away from soccer after a match but after that match you couldn't wait to get back out on the practice field with the team. What was it that you saw at that time that made you feel differently?
MN: After the first three games I think our kids were down. Any time you lose three games in a row it's difficult but we had played and competed so well in those first three games and I knew that the stretch of the next seven to 10 games would be absolutely telling in what we would do for the year. I felt that we had played well enough to get a result or two so that was exciting because I knew we were on the edge of something good and I just wanted to get back to work and get them organized and make sure we were ready to go for the next week and ultimately we were.  Continue Reading This Post >> Coach Needham Interview :: 09/01/09 Your thoughts on the North Texas match.
Michael Needham: I think North Texas is probably the best team we've played yet from a pure soccer standpoint. They weren't as athletic as UTEP but they were definitely a very good soccer team and made us chase the ball a bit. We did a good job defensively. Again, we still need to do a better job of connecting passes and keeping possession of the ball as we go forward but that being said that was the best we've done doing that yet against a good team.

I was pleased with it. I think as we move forward, the thing that struck me when I walked away on Sunday was that I was very excited to get back out on Tuesday. A lot of times when you just lose a game it's like, "I'm happy to have a day off." That wasn't the case Sunday. We're right there, everything's happening the right way, we're doing things the right way, we're approaching things the right way, so we were just very excited to get going today and head up to Colorado this weekend.  Continue Reading This Post >>