Is the WCC Aspiring to Upgrade

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Is the WCC Aspiring to Upgrade

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:24 pm

I believe I heard Garrett say in an interview this season that the West Coast Conference has committed itself to become one of the top 3 conferences in Division I women's soccer. I was wondering if that meant, in particular, that some of the weaker teams in the conference had made big commitments.

I just read, over on BigSoccer, that a very successful young coach at Arkansas State is leaving their head coaching job to become an assistant coach at Gonzaga. That might be consistent with what I thought Garrett said.

I'm wondering if I'm dreaming, or did any of you hear what I heard, or do any of you know anything about the WCC really trying to climb the DI ladder?

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Re: Is the WCC Aspiring to Upgrade

Post by SoreKnees on Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:33 pm

Good question, UPSF. I guess that the first question that comes to my mind is: "How does a conference upgrade itself?" Most of the decisions that have to be made in order for a conference to improve come from the schools and the prospective players and coaches, not from anyone at the conference level. About the only thing I can think of that the WCC itself could do is to add a team like Denver that is a frequent NCAA qualifier.

If the schools that have had less success in women's soccer were to spend to hire attractive coaches and make sure that they were using all available scholarship funds, that would probably help them recruit better players and field better teams, but that's a commitment at the school level, not the WCC itself.

Another potential problem with upgrading the whole conference--especially one as idiosyncratic as the WCC--is that some recruiting gains for the lesser schools are likely to come at the expense of their own rivals (i.e., us). Most of the WCC schools have a strong West Coast recruiting focus. If the currently weaker schools are able to attract recruits from Pac-10, WAC, or Big West, then the WCC will get better. However, as has been discussed frequently on this forum, there are some players who are attracted to small, private, religious colleges and others who prefer big, public universities. To the extent that the former pool is limited, the WCC may already be getting all the top players it can and any improvement from the bottom schools will be at the expense of the top school.

One other factor that may be helpful is that the pool of excellent women soccer players seems to be continuing to expand. As it does, there may be enough really good players to have 10-15 top-level teams nationally rather than the 5-8 that we have now, and maybe enough for 2-4 very good WCC teams rather than the 1-2 we have had in recent years.

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Re: Is the WCC Aspiring to Upgrade

Post by DaTruRochin on Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:51 pm

Well, I think aside from investing in coaching and properly allocating scholarships the other key way for the WCC to really differentiate itself is having the best possible facilities for soccer. UP has obviously set the standard, and another example is Gonzaga who has definitely stepped up their facilities. If you are going to be competing with those bigger schools who often neglect their soccer facilities (i.e. UCLA) bringing a recruit to a place like Merlo and the dedicated locker rooms (Not to mention progressive training programs that Dr. Favero provide) are going to REALLY stand out.

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Re: Is the WCC Aspiring to Upgrade

Post by SoreKnees on Tue Dec 15, 2009 8:26 pm

Good point, DTR. Portland, Santa Clara, and Gonzaga now seem to have good facilities. What about the others?

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