Pilots grounded

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Pilots grounded

Post by soccershins on Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:05 pm

via TopDrawerSoccer: "I don't know what's going on with Portland, but things are getting so bad that they recently lost to Seattle and it barely registered on the upset meter."

Powerhouse Program fading fast

What is going on?!

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Re: Pilots grounded

Post by color me purple on Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:21 pm

Regardless of what the Pilot Nation feel or think about how the team or Garrett Smith are doing, the fact of the matter is UP’s administration expects a lot of the Women’s Soccer Program because its success equals more notoriety for UP, which equals an increase in the number of applicants, which equals an increase in enrollment, which equals an increase in money for the university.
In addition, the Athletic Director expects a lot of the Women’s Soccer Program because its success equals a steady flow of money from the athletic boosters, which equals more stuff the AD can buy for the university’s athletic department, which equals more good press for the AD.
Consequently, when the Women’s Soccer Team goes on a losing streak the big dogs get nervous and start turning the heat up on Garrett Smith.
Division 1 college sports is a business and Galoso is right… the name of the game is “What have you done for me lately?” And no matter what you might think, in today’s hyper-competitive world, it’s not about the well being of the student athletes - it’s about production.
I suspect Garrett is feeling pressure now from UP’s bosses and if he doesn’t turn things around in the very near future he will be feeling a whole lot more. And that is too bad, because if G is feeling the pressure you can be sure he is passing it down to the women on the team (and they don’t deserve it).

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Re: Pilots grounded

Post by UPPilots on Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:56 pm

The AD identified two flagship programs when he got the job, women's soccer and men's basketball. Women's soccer has been THE program at the university in the last decade, so no surprise there. But men's basketball was a building project. They have needed to have women's soccer making money for the department so that basketball can continue to be built up. BBall, more than any other program at the university, has the most potential for making money, which in turn would benefit the other programs. So much effort over the last few years has been made to make the bball program big time, it's painfully obvious in the marketing they do. If the women's team isn't flourishing, that is trouble.

Color me is exactly right, college athletics is a business, and if people aren't producing, questions will arise. I think G is a brilliant coach and I don't think there should be any consideration in firing him after all that he has done over the last few years. These things happen in competitive athletics, there are down years, girls soccer altogether is getting more competitive.
I don't know if he is wrong in passing some of that pressure down to the team however. They are the ones who haven't been performing. They haven't scored a goal in 3 games... Shouldn't pressure make them?

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Re: Pilots grounded

Post by color me purple on Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:29 pm

Dear UPP,
I think the main reason the team is not performing well is Garrett is already passing down way too much pressure onto them. I think it is painfully obvious they are playing extraordinarily tight, non-spontaneous and without intuition.
Athletes perform best when they are loose and play intuitively. Read any book written about Willie Mays. Willie believed you had to have fun to play well – and in my opinion he played baseball better than anyone then and now.
Willie had a saying, “If it doesn’t affect my wife or life, I don’t worry about it.”
The Pilots should take a lesson from Willie Mays.
I think the one major difference between Clive and Garrett is that Clive could take the heat, he liked the heat.
But then again Clive was unique. Leaders like him are extraordinarily rare. Don’t expect Garrett to fill the shoes of Clive Charles. That isn’t fair.
But with all that said, I have a recommendation to the people who make up the Pilot Nation…..
The next time the Women Pilots play at Merlo Field go to the game with a big smile on your face, have a nice cold beer, laugh a lot, and support the team by yelling for them at the top of your lungs.
And then after the game is over - no matter what the outcome - go home with a smile on your face, hug and tuck your kids in bed, give your wife a good/long/passionate kiss, and then go to sleep and have sweet dreams.
After all, we are talking about soccer here – it’s just kicking a ball around a grace field. It’s not heart surgery and it certainly isn’t combat. Don’t worry about it.
Relax, take a deep breath, count your blessings, and smile.

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Re: Pilots grounded

Post by UPPilots on Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:38 pm

Hey color,
Good point. As a former college athlete, I always played a TON better when I was just out there having fun. Maybe there is too much pressure, but I think that comes with being a top 5 program over the years. They are going to have a target on their backs every game. I think that perhaps the fun-loving aspect of the game should come from Dani. When she is having fun, she plays better and so does the team. However, I think she tends to take on tooo much responsibility sometimes, and that's when things start getting tight. She needs to be the player to let loose, create, and inspire the pilots.
Definitely right on the last comment though, let's all have fun! There is no place like home and the Pilots could use a boost, and a win over Stanford would certainly get things going in the right direction again

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Re: Pilots grounded

Post by color me purple on Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:06 pm

UPP,
Your note reminded me of a game I saw a few years ago. I went down to the UP/ Stanford game at Stanford - I think it was the quarter finals for the NCAA Championship. Anyway the Pilots were seriously shorthanded because of injuries and National Team duty. I was in the stands looking across the field and it looked like the Pilots had about 13 players lined up there but when the Stanford band started playing (and they can really play) I saw Megan Rapineo start doing some kind of ‘hoochy coochy’ dance across the field. Then when she ran across the field with the team doing warm ups, I saw this smile on her face as if to say, “I don’t feel no stinking pressure – this is fun!”
That is what I am talking about. Get loose and have some fun. It’s only a soccer game and you are only young once.

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Re: Pilots grounded

Post by estplnr on Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:32 pm

I was at both matches in Seattle this past weekend and seem to identify with the previous post by 'color me purple'..... these young women do NOT look like they are having any fun at all..........I miss some passion out there on the pitch and it seems to be lacking in this group of women. They need to listen to some old Clive talks that are quoted on this site about having fun.

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Re: Pilots grounded

Post by DaTruRochin on Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:33 pm

Sigh... all the success (and now alleged failure) in the world, and people still can't get their pilot metaphors straight... Kind of hard to make a boat grounded, I mean you can run aground, I suppose, but grounded?

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Re: Pilots grounded

Post by Geezaldinho on Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:24 pm

Well, the general public and the "experts" and even the publicity staff at USSoccer haven't been on top of their game ever - even when Stephanie helped the USWNT to an olympic gold.



I'm surprised they didn't get us confused with Portland State again.

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Re: Pilots grounded

Post by purple haze on Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:19 pm

I like what color me purple says: "The next time the Women Pilots play at Merlo Field go to the game with a big smile on your face, have a nice cold beer, laugh a lot, and support the team by yelling for them at the top of your lungs." About that nice cold beer: available only to Pilot Club members (meaning athletic donors) in the special tent, correct? Invite me in! I'd love one.

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Re: Pilots grounded

Post by UPPilots on Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:23 pm

Megan was certainly a loose player. You could tell that every time she stepped on the field, she was there to have an awesome time playing soccer, and the team benefitted from it. My point is, they don't really seem to have that Megan personality on the team this year, so it doesn't seem like they have the go-to person to lighten everyone's spirits and get everyone to have fun

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Re: Pilots grounded

Post by A_Fan on Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:25 pm

I am pretty sure the pressure on the team is not coming from anyone on the coaching staff. If anything the staff is probably working overtime trying to keep the team loose. The pressure is coming from the players themselves. These are all highly successful athletes who are used to winning at all levels. Now they are in a bit of a swoon and they are not used to being in this position. It is only natural that after pushing themselves to get to the highest level of collegiate soccer that they would be pushing themselves to get back on the winning track. It's easy to say "just go out and have fun" but not so easy to do when you are putting pressure on yourself to perform better. They are trying to live up to their own expectations as well as those of the University, the students and the fans. Probably not so simple when you are 18 or 20 years old.

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Re: Pilots grounded

Post by purple haze on Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:43 pm

Kassi is the heiress apparent to Megan in terms of loose, fun attitude. Remember how the two of them used to play air guitar right before kickoff? Kassi still leads all bench cheers and is the first to stand and give a high five or hug to anyone subbed off the field.

Megan was one of a kind. Her World Cup flair (and hairstyle) turned heads. I saw women wearing USA No. 15 Rapinoe jerseys in Disneyland last week. She is a powerful recruiting force sure to attract to UP young players who want to be like her.

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Re: Pilots grounded

Post by PurplePrideTrumpet on Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:15 pm

A_Fan wrote:I am pretty sure the pressure on the team is not coming from anyone on the coaching staff. If anything the staff is probably working overtime trying to keep the team loose. The pressure is coming from the players themselves.
An athlete's harshest critic is him/herself. I'm sure they can't help but think of the players and teams of the past few seasons and want to play up to that level. Of course they're going to be pressing.

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Re: Pilots grounded

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:03 pm

I'm pretty reluctant to get into this discussion, but ....

First: In terms of pressure on players from the coaching staff, it's not as simple as some are making out. Sometimes pressure is called for and sometimes "have fun" is called for. The quote I use from Clive was in the dressing room before the 2002 championship game. Who knows what he was saying in practices at the beginning of that season. Context is important. I know as a coach in another sport (tennis) that sometimes, making players self-conscious is the first step in ultimately getting players to the point at which they can "just have fun." The progression I think of is "unconscious incompetent," "self-conscious incompetent," "self-conscious competent," "unself-conscious competent," and then starting over to go to the next level. (And, "self-conscious incompetent" is how I would describe the Pilots against Washington State and Seattle, with the first half against Boston being much better.) There's no way to avoid this progression. In other words, good coaching is much more sophisticated and demanding than "just have fun."

Second: Just because the team is not doing as well as we would like/expected, that doesn't mean someone has done something wrong or is at fault. Take a deep breath .... I agree with the "fans be happy" sentiment, but suggest directing the sentiment not just at the players but at the coaching staff too. As I said in a previous post, this season is going to be a test of the coaching staff and the fans.




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Re: Pilots grounded

Post by GUPhantom on Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:25 am

Circle of Life folks...Circle of Life!

The Pilot Women's Soccer program has had a long, incredible run of success. But even similar programs like UConn W B-Ball, with an amazing winning streak came to an end.

Is the sky falling? Nah! But, storm clouds are hovering. Typically, the Pilots have had a "sprinkle" of key National Team caliber players in our recruiting classes. We typically don't need very many anyway.

You all know who they are?! They're not hard to spot...they standout right away. They're the ones who don't play like "freshmen". The maturity in their games is evident very early on in their careers. They are all impact players. And frankly, when I used to tracked class ranking all the way back to 2000...the Pilot classes rarely even rated in the Top 5.

But, that's okay! We've done very well despite not sweeping the recruiting wars for National Team players... Hello NC?! Anyway, these special players understand that the Pilot-style means they have to blend their individual talents to attain a greater success as a team! The Pilots typically surrounded the markee players...the playmakers with a cast of excellent role players. In the process of assembly....they elevate each other's play.

My point? No amount of coaching is going to turn this around. IMHO...we just don't have the horses in the last few cycle of classes...just not quite enough of them lately. Let's keep the environment of playing at UP and Merlo the most irresistible thing for a recruit. Clive built it....they will come. Let's do this same way the Pilots have been taught to play! Be patient...keep taking shots. The goals will come. Circle of Life.


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Re: Pilots grounded

Post by fan from afar on Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:07 am

Like UPSF, I am a little hesitant to get into this conversation, for a different reason - I have not seen the team play this year. In general, though, I REALLY like the progression he talked about. Everyone should be sure to read it and think about it. From what I am reading here, I think it hits the nail right on the head as to where this team is right now as far as pressure and expectations. I will also say that, having been following the team closely over the past years and having seen 3-4 games each year in person, I doubt very much that Garrett is putting undue pressure on the players. He just does not seem like that type of coach - not at all. A favorite quote was during one game I was watching on the computer when the announcer said something like "Garrett is really upset - I know because he got up off the bench." He is definitely a coach of the let-em-play-the-game-themselves school.

What concerns me MUCH more than the way this season is going - after all, we lost 5 players with national team abilities, counting Kendall - is what is coming in, or rather NOT coming in. GUP is absolutely right - we typically have been successful with only a few players with national team experience by building a real TEAM!! around them. However, I believe there are only three on the team in all 4 classes right now who CAME IN with national team experience - Cruz, Dees and Cloee. Worse, in the next two recruiting classes, as of now, there is only one player listed with national team experience. The Stanfords and UNC's of the world have 3-5 IN EACH CLASS. And, worse still - and this is something I have been harping on for over a year now - none of our national team players is a scorer. We do not have the gifted scorer that I believe is necessary to be ultimately successful. I really believe that was the downfall of last year's team - we had 6 players (Cloee, Kendall, Ellie, Jessica, Sophie, Keelin, 1/2 of the team) with proven national team ability but no scorer.

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Re: Pilots grounded

Post by forumup57 on Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:27 am

The UP program is no longer the program it once was. That started to become evident last year and is manifesting itself more clearly this year. The only question is whether this is by design or not. If the Administration changes the coach then it will be clear that this is not by design. If no change is made and the program becomes more middle of the road then you have your answer. It doesn't mean that fans cannot still go to Merlo and enjoy the games as in the past. It's just going to be a different experience. Realistically, in a few years attendance may be similar to the men's games as more folks opt to go to the Timbers games instead.

Changing the coach is an interesting proposition. UP is a "unified" coaching staff among both the men's and women's program. Hard to say what Bill Irwin's role is in all this. If you believe the "problem" is a coaching and recruiting issue then maybe Bill should be more involved with the women's program and let Baarts handle the men. It's all very interesting.

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Re: Pilots grounded

Post by purple passion on Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:40 am

To be, or not to be: that is the question Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them?

Whatever the season brings, I will support the coaching staff and the teams, both men and women.

Some of the injuries have been very effective in changing the performance of the women...I look for that to improve as the healing takes place...and the coaching staff is allowing the healing to take place.

Go Pilots!!!

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