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2007 Women's Soccer Preview

Aug. 9, 2007

With less than a month till the 2007 tip off, USF Media Relations met and discussed the upcoming season with first-year Head Coach Mark Carr.

The following is a transcript of that meeting...

Q: What were your thoughts about the spring season and how do you think that will carry over momentum wise into the fall season?

A: Obviously when I arrived in the spring, it was a fresh start for everyone involved. I didn't know the individual personalities on the team or their positions on the field. Everyone went into the spring with a fresh slate and a chance to impress.

I feel that over the course of the spring I have seen the players set a standard for themselves individually. It wasn't an easy transition for the players, but I felt they bought into the whole philosophy and structure, and they definitely saw some results in the latter part of the spring.

This fall will be a chance for the group to now build on the standards they set in the spring. We have five freshmen coming in and they will be looking to compete for a starting spot right away. It is up to the returnees to continue and improve upon the hard work they have displayed this spring.

Q: What are your goals heading into 2007?

A: I have a few goals. First off, I want the players to have a positive experience at the University of San Francisco. I want them to be excited to train, excited to play, and to compete against some of the top college teams in the country. We play in one of the top conferences in the country and I want players who are excited about that challenge.I am also looking for self improvement in all areas. I want to go into this season with the perspective of; do we improve from week to week and get better from game to game? Its' a long season and we will take it one game at a time.

Of course I will aim high with the team and see if we can reach our goals. I want our players to bring effort and energy into everything that they do. We need to understand that from one game to the next we'll be asking ourselves did we get better? In an ideal world you want to be the best you can possibly be and I am looking forward to the challenges of the fall.

Q: You're entering your first season as a head coach, what traits andcharacteristics do you want the USF women's soccer program to have as it moves forward?

A: I have a couple of characteristics that I look for in a player. Character is the most important thing. Are they accountable? Are they a good person who represents themselves and the university in a positive light? I want players that have a desire to improve and become better in the classroom, on the field, and as a person. I will strive to improve all my players, whether they are 1-5 or 18-22. If a player can show me one time that they can do something, that now becomes their standard and I will demand that from them over and over again.

The core values of USF Soccer are hard work, effort, energy and development. I want players at the University of San Francisco who are excited to build something great.

It will always be about a fighting spirit, togetherness and self improvement.

Q: What players do you anticipate leading the charge this season?

A:The one thing that I talked to the group about in the spring is that wedon't have one, two or three players that are going to single-handedlywin the game for us. I think it's more about the group and everyone who is in the collective pursuit of a common goal. It's more about us as a unit collectively. Everybody on the team can bring something different. Everybody has a role on this team and it is about us working together and pulling in the same direction.

Our captains for the coming year are going to be Fiona O'Sullivan, Jessica Duty and Katherine Kimure. Each one of these players brings something different to the leadership role and I think they will compliment each other perfectly. I also have three other seniors in Kara Breithaupt, Katie Hoban and Lauren Tweet whom I will be looking to guide this young team.

Q: Talk a little about your incoming class of freshmen andnewcomers.

A: When you look at the 2007 class, it is a small group with a nice balance of attacking personalities. These players have all played on reputable club teams.

We have Keonna and Shannon from the Cal Cougar club. From my understanding, Kiki is a player with good pace and I think she is going to have the ability to stretch back lines and be able to get in behind with her pace. She's coming off the back of a great high school career where she led her team in both goals and assists.

Shannon is a left sided player. She's a player who can get up and down the flank, get crosses in. She also played forward for her high school team. I think those two are going to bring something special in the attack.

Lauren Maris is a forward who's good one on one and likes to go to goal. She's technically sound and very gifted on the ball. She achieved a great deal with her club team, East Side, and I'm looking for her to come in and make an impact right away. She's going to bring a lot to the table.

Elizabeth is a local player, who is good one on one, works hard, achieved a CIF championship with her high school and as part of the Marin FC club. She's going to bring something to the flank on the right side either as a midfielder or as a forward. She loves to run at players, take players on, loves to beat players, and is extremely hard working.

And Kelsey, who is a recent addition, is from the Rancho Santa Fe Soccer Club. She's a kid from Southern California who played in competitive club for six or seven years. She's a technical, sophisticated midfielder who can make things happen out of the midfield. She's going to dribble, combine and she's going to float as an attacking midfielder in either a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. The group in general has a lot of personality. My hope is these kids will come in and really push the returnees and those kids who have been here in the spring to really get on the field. I'm excited about this class and what these kids will bring once preseason starts.We also have a number of walk-ons and non-roster players trying to make the team. They're in fierce competition with one another, trying to show me they are USF material.

Q: Now lets talk a little about your returning players, position-by-position, starting with your forwards.

A: I'm undecided on my system right now whether we'll play with two or three forwards. I'm going to wait to see how it pans out in pre season.Up front, we have Fiona, Samantha and Alexis. They all have strengths that compliment one another and it is up to me and my staff to find the right blend and chemistry between them.

Fiona is regaining full fitness and has worked tremendously hard this spring. She's a tall, athletic, powerful, good back to pressure player who can finish given an opportunity.

We also have Samantha Brand who's got a tremendous amount of pace. We will look to her to get in behind and frighten teams with her pace.Alexis Melke is a very good target player whose technical and does very well with her back to the game. She works her socks off and exemplifies what USF soccer is about. She's going to be somebody who is going to compete for minutes as well.

I think those guys with the freshmen make a nice group for me to pick my starting forwards from.

Q: Now moving into midfielders...

A: We have a great blend of midfielders who all will contribute in some way. Breithaupt is going into her senior year and I will be looking for her to lead the midfielders and team in general. She's a ball winner, super tough, hard tackling and good in the air. She can also play in the back.

Jenny Jarvie is the playmaker type who has the ability to pass the ball over varying distances and we will look to her to control the tempo of the game.

Jessica Gaskin and Stephanie Randall will add valuable minutes in the middle as well. Gaskin is technically gifted in the center of the pitch and Randall adds a little versatility in the sense she can play centrally in the midfield or as a target forward.

On the flanks we have a couple of options. Kimure is a competitor who wants to win at all costs. She has the ability to get in behind and loves to go to goal.

Tweet is one of the most athletically gifted players on the team. She is a player that can get up and down the flank, get crosses in and just has an engine that can go all day long.

Q: Defenders...

A: We have a nice combination of experience and youth on our backline. I'm looking forward to see what our senior defenders are capable of doing. One such senior, Katie Hoban, is coming in with great technical skills and she reads the game very well.

Sasha is very good technically on the ball, likes to be a playmaker out of the back and she will be a nice compliment to Duty who is a competitive, fiery and hard center back.

On the outside, we have a couple of options in Kristina Hall, Erin Myers and Krissy Synowicki. They are all quality players who are technical and good one-on-one defenders. It will be interesting to see who steps up.

Q: Goalkeepers...

A: We've got three outstanding goalkeepers in Katie Hodgson, KellyPohle and Anika Steig. All of them have something different they bring tothe table and I'm confident in all three of them. Any given day they can step on the field and make a difference.

Obviously Hodge is a great shot stopper. She's somebody who makes the big saves. Pohle is coming back from injury and is a phenomenal goal keeper and of course, Anika.

I'm confident that whoever I go with will get the job done.

Q: Let's talk a little about your staff. What do you look for withyour hiring of Maite?

A: When I looked at bringing an assistant on board, I thought that Maitefit the bill perfectly. Obviously she's achieved a lot as a player andas a coach at Cal. I think the timing and the fit was a greatcombination. Her energy, enthusiasm, experience, not only on the field but behind the scenes is invaluable. She's going to be someone who'll take care of the details and provide a great compliment to myself in the program. She played in the college game and knows what it takes to be the best. I'm excited to have her aboard.

Eric Reed will be working with our goalkeepers. He currently plays on the Cal Victory pro team. He's an excellent goalkeeper and upcoming coach with tremendous work ethic.

He played four years at UCLA and won a national championship and multiple conference championships there. I think his mentality and way of thinking will take our players to the next level.

Q: How have you enjoyed working at USF so far?

A: My experience at USF so far has been unbelievable. I can't believe I have been here over six months. The small tight department is a joy to work within and everyone is so helpful. The support that I have received from everyone behind the scenes has been incredible.

I love the city. It has so much to offer with regards to culture. You can find a different place to eat on every corner. And I am in the best shape of my life with all the hills you have to walk up.

The campus is awesome. Everything is within walking distance and I am excited to feel the buzz around campus once all the fall sports kick in and the students are back in town. You get the best of the both worlds in the sense that you have both a small and big school feel with the city of San Francisco being the big part.

Q: The schedule which awaits you in the fall is not exactly for thefaint of heart. What do you think your team will learn from playingsome of the elite teams in the country?

A: For me, you always want to play against the best teams. I think ourschedule has to be one of the toughest schedules in the country. We havefour of the top teams in country in UCLA, North Carolina, Santa Claraand Portland. Those programs will provide a great measuring stick for us and where we are and it will also prepare us for the start of conference play.

You don't get better unless you play against the best. I think it's exciting for us that we get a chance to really go up against such great teams. Those are the experiences that make you better. We also play Stanford, Duke, Nevada, and a few So Cal and Nor Cal teams.

That's what you want. Once we hit conference, there are no easy games. Each of those teams is right up there and can not be overlooked.

Carr inherits a squad that went 5-13-2 overall, 1-5-1 in West Coast Conference play in 2006. The Dons' will open 2007 hosting a home exhibition against Sacramento State on August 26 at 11 a.m. USF's home opener is on September 30 at 1 p.m.