Practice Notes & Quotes 10-07-02

Attendance:
G – Rimando, McGinty, (Charleston Battery)
D – Reyes
M – Etcheverry, Convey, Williams, Olsen, Alegria, Quintinilla, Mapp, Judah Cooks
F – Lassiter, Curtis, Quaranta

Invitees include Jordy Broder (Atlanta Silverbacks – A-League), Abdul (local from Sierra Leone),
Dustin Swinehart (forward/midfielder – Charlotte Eagles – A-League)
– 1st Team All A-League (2001)
– (3x) A-League Player of the Week (2001)
– (4x) A-League Team of the Week (2001)
– In 2001 – GP – 27, Goals – 10, Assists – 6, Points – 26

Todd Hoffard (GK – Charleston Battery – A-League)
From Charleston Battery website (www.charlestonbattery.com)
“ . . . he started his indoor career at the Harrisburg Heat in 1995 and was named to the All Rookie All Star Team. He spent the 1997-98 season with NPSL Champion Cleveland Crunch and signed with the Philadelphia Kixx in 1999. He also played outdoors in the USL D3 Pro League during this period, playing with the Albany Alleycats in 1996 and the next three years with the Reading Rage.”
In 2001 – GP – 5 (3W/1L/1D), Shutouts – 4, Goals Against – 1

Etcheverry came out to the practice field and participated in the last half.
Moreno was excused for personal business.
Namoff is expected to return to the team tomorrow.
Villegas was excused for illness.
Prideaux, McKinley, Nelsen, Alavanja are all on the healing block, and still at their respective homes.

Notes:
Again a large part of the practice was with Fitness Coach Petrosian. 10-yard wind sprints seemed to be the key exercise throughout – front, side, backwards, sprint & header, sprint, spin & sprint, etc.

Q1 seems to be hampered with groin strain. Several times throughout practice he grabbed that area and winced in pain. Also, at the end of practice physio Rick Guter and Q1 were attempting to massage the pain.

Convey is actually anxious to increase his level of fitness training.

Williams actually made a beautiful run during the inter squad scrimmage. He deftly touched the ball around a couple of defenders and as he bore down on goal, his own player stepped in and stripped the ball away. Williams continued his run to the far post where he was rewarded with a return pass, which he tucked away neatly.

Quotes:
Asst Coach John Trask
Coach Hudson said that he believes this team will play with 3 defenders. With McKinley, Pope, Prideaux, Reyes, and Nelsen you can argue that they would be part of the ‘Best XI’ for DCUnited. How are all five going to fit into the plan next season? Will Reyes and/or Nelsen learn defensive midfield roles during the off-season?
“I think if Ray had his druthers, probably he’d like to play 3 in the back with 5 in the midfield – a bit like some people said we played a 3-6-1 in Miami last year. I think if you look at the successful teams in the league, a team like LA, is Ezra Hendrickson a right back, or a right midfielder? It’s kind of a skewed 3 or 4, depending on how you want to call it.”
“We’re not as worried about a system of play as we are about personalities that we need on the field. If that means we can line up three in the back to get our strengths in the midfield, add the extra players and play the type of soccer we want to play, then that’s what I think you’ll see. If we’re in a situation where injuries, or we just feel we’re going to be stronger with a four man back, which could be on the road, we’d continue to look at that.”
“We have great versatility in Benny and Bobby in our wide midfielder slots, and Justin Mapp coming up. Both of those kids can play – I’m sure they’d rather play in a 4-4-2 where they have protection behind them – both of them have the range where they can play in a 3-5-2.”

Similarly you’ve got 3 kids in the midfield that can either go on the left or in the middle – Convey, Quintinilla, or Mapp. Convey was effective towards the end of the year centrally. Is it possible that he will slip into the middle and either Mapp or Quintinilla take over on the left?
“Yeah, that’s one of the nice things that came out of end of the year having Benny back, and having that driving force on the right side, so it wasn’t always Milton’s job to come from such a deep position to give us width on the right side, it allowed us to do some things with Bobby. Early in the season we had to play Bobby on the left. He was our one real wide threat, and with Benny coming back, we were able to move Bobby inside. There were a lot of parts that we really liked. Whether that will be the case going forward I’m not sure.”
“Justin Mapp is an extremely talented left sided midfielder. He is truly a left sided midfielder. If and when we decide that Bobby would move inside because Justin is ready to play on that left side, that may put our best eleven on the field. Justin would probably need a bit more cover on that side. But the thing we like about Ivan, Brandon, and Milton, and those guys, is that they are capable tactically to skew it a little bit.”
“We never really got into rhythm this year in terms of how we wanted to organize our eleven with all the injuries. But I think when the end of the came on you started to see how we would like it to look.”
“And we also learned that Milton Reyes is extremely versatile. He’s been a right back his entire life, but the opportunity to have him in a man marker role, whether it’s on the left side, right side, or in the middle of the field, is a great strength.”
“Hopefully Eddie will continue – we’ve been working him hard on his leadership qualities – will continue. Usually at that age it happens. With a man marker like Eddie, around 29 or 30-years old, with the experiences he’s had in the game, he will mature and become a bit more cerebral and more of a communicator to those people around him, to the younger players, and give us a more solid back line, much like Jeff Agoos did for San Jose, and much like Carlos Llamosa has provided for New England – just that little bit of stability and mental side of the game. Eddie has all the physical abilities, that was quite evident in the World Cup. We just want to see him take that next step in the development of his game. I would imagine the National program wants to see that too.”

Are you getting the feeling from the younger players that they matured to the point where they are saying, ‘Start me, or trade me to someone who will!’?
“No, I don’t think that’s so much it. Eliseo was playing quite a bit when we brought him in, and did very well for a player of his age. Justin Mapp, coming out of the U-17 program, just needed to get used to the speed of play, the size, and the toughness, and the mental focus.”
“You can get away with mistakes when you’re still considered a youth player. I think we saw that the last couple of years in Bobby Convey making some mistakes. But to be a solid wide play in this league, on par with the ‘Chungie’s’ (Mark Chung), Henderson’s, and Ralston’s, it’s the ability to do it on both sides of the ball – to impact the game, to get assists, to get the occasional goal for your team, but to make sure you’re not vulnerable going the other way. That’s just part of the learning curve with young players.”
“I think with Justin from day one has understood that he has some things he has some things to learn. Everyday I see improvement in the young man. Is it to the point where I think, ‘Oh boy, we’re looking at him in the starting lineup for next year!’ I don’t think he wants that verification. Yeah, I know he doesn’t want to go into next year looking at playing 29 minutes like this year. But he knows he’ll play when he’s ready to play. It’s up to him to prove to Ray and the coaching staff that he’s ready to take on that challenge. We feel great about him. A lot of people question about that draft pick, but we’re very comfortable with where we drafted Justin Mapp, and who we have as a player.”
“Going forward, how that plays out, time will tell. Whether it’s Bobby to the interior, and Justin starting out wide . . . Possibly later in a match, after Bobby’s played wide for 60 minutes, we give Justin that last 30 minutes – he’s kind of a game breaker type of player. I think we saw that in San Jose and in the New York game at home. He’s capable of getting to the end line and making things happen, and we love that about him.”
“We’re lucky we have three American players that we feel – Bobby, Santino, and Justin – not only do they hold their own, but they are capable of going out there and breaking open a game. It speaks volumes of the quality of these kids, all 20-years or younger. You’ll see it in the Under 20’s qualifying that they are three players that Thomas Rongen and our National program are really depending on to get us through qualification.”

Even though Coach Hudson said there would be changes, with the defense, and with these younger players, would you be comfortable going into next season if changes can’t be made?
“I’d like to defer that to Ray Hudson. My feeling is that we came in tenth place, and you can blame a lot of different things. The bottom line is that this was a last place team. It’s three years out of the playoffs. I think some changes have to occur. Whether it’s just for the psyche of the rest of the players that are here . . .that they feel like going into next season thinking, ‘Wow, these guys aren’t standing pat and hoping it’s all going to all come back together.’ I think that’s what Ray was saying pretty early in the season. He sees it. I think both of us, with the success we had in Miami, we had to make some very big changes there to get the right people on the field.”
“Soccer is a very, very subjective game in terms of looking at players. How Ray wants to play, we need to have certain players here. And they may not be a good fit for some other teams. There may be players that do well for other teams that don’t do well for us. That’s the nature of the beast in soccer. Ray Hudson has a keen eye for what he’s looking for, not only from individual players, but what he expects from his team.”
“And we fell short. There’s no hiding that this year.”
“Ray is a firm believer that it’s a players’ game. We can talk, we can show video, we can train, but the bottom line is that it is the quality of players when they enter the field that are going to dictate what type of team we have. We didn’t feel that we were strong enough this year.”

Just to tie everything together, you’ve got the potential players here – Pope’s leadership, the young players – can the change come from within the team, or must outside players be brought in to make the change?
“Well, the type of players you’re talking about right there – Benny is a game breaker, Ryan Nelsen showed to be a very solid defender, and capable of scoring some goals for us – I think the beauty of MLS is bringing in those ‘gems’ as Ray Hudson would say, those couple of players, whether they are on the team right now and we need to get them more fit, or we need to bring in some new ones, those are the players that accentuate the team. They take Bobby Convey to the next level. It’s the brilliance of Preki, the one touch ball of Carlos Valderamma that makes everything happen. That’s what we’re looking for. Whether we have that in the side right now, that fine. To think that Benny Olsen is going to become our attacking midfielder, I don’t think that’s in the cards. He’s a right-sided midfielder, and a very talented one, and a very important part of this team – as is Bobby Convey, as is Ryan Nelsen, as is Brandon Prideaux. But to give them one or two more special players is really what Ray is trying to do.”
“I think that’s why we had success in Miami. We had existing players such as Pablo Masteroeni, whose now gone on to bigger and better things, Tyrone Marshall, Lazo Alavanja, Jay Heeps, but it was by bringing in the Ian Bishop’s, Preki, and Chacon that took Jimmy Rooney’s game to that next level. And I think you can see that now Jimmy is trying to play in New England without Bishop. He’s a good player, but he’s not nearly as effective as he was when Ian Bishop was playing next to him.”
“That’s why you pay those foreign players, and that’s why you bring them in. You look at how Santino’s has been brought along by Jaime and Marco. It’s a great thing in this league. And most of the foreign players in this league, minus a couple, seem to take great joy in helping the development of the American player.”
“I as a coach can say anything I want to a player in training. But when a Marco Etcheverry, who brings the label of a world-class player, reconfirms what I’m telling a player, or brings a kid over to the side during a water break and gives him a little bit of fine tuning that maybe he’s not going to hear on the soccer field, maybe something that a typical American soccer player won’t know, it’s worth its weight in gold. Those players hang on every word. It’s great! The influence Preki had on our team last year in Miami on the team in the training ground, in the locker room – talking to younger players, keeping their heads right, keeping them focused, making them realize what being a pro is – how you treat yourself, how you treat your responsibilities – you can never over look that.”

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