The WIU women’s soccer team has a 7-2 record so far this season, and new head coach Ted Flogaites says he doesn’t see why the team should not win a title this year. Big goals, and a winning record so far this year, led to interesting conversation on Flogaites’ philosophy on the game of soccer.
Prior to his time at Western, Flogaites has had many successful years of soccer experience, including being named Coach of the Year by the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) twice, Coach of the Year by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and National Coach of the Year by National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). He has led teams to many successes, leading to national championship games, and setting program records.
Now, Flogaites is here on Leatherneck territory. He knows that WIU’s women’s soccer team has a lot of potential. “[I] couldn’t be happier- the team’s great,” he said. “Coaching a good team is fun, and it’s even better because we’ve got good people. [It’s] a great quality to have- to be a good team. The team is very disciplined; we want to train; we want to be good. There’s a genuine desire to be good.”
I asked Coach Flogaites what he’s been focusing on specifically this season with the women’s soccer team. He laughed and stated, “the question is what haven’t we focused on?” He went on to explain that there are many facets involved in soccer and all need an equal amount of attention. “We’ve approached stylistically and tactically in the past, and now we try to keep the ball, try to attack, try to go forward in the numbers,” he said.
“In the past we’ve been content to sit back, but when you do that, you’re basically saying that you’re playing [the game] for a draw,” Flogaites explained, “We’ve worked on technique; there would be no tactics without technique, so we’ve been working on all fundamentals. Basically what we’re trying to do is prepare for any situation on the field,” he said.
Implementing life lessons into the game of soccer is a concept Flogaites has been integrating since he and his team began training in early August. “We need to understand the game is a lot like life,” he began, “mistakes are going to be made on the field that aren’t going to make or break us. We need to know how to respond.”
“There’s a vulnerability to play, and you can’t just hide or duck behind the wall,” Flogaites continued, “I think to be great at something means learning how to accept being uncomfortable daily. Most of the best things achieved come when you’ve been uncomfortable, or train on the edge,” he said.
Coach Flogaites mentioned working with the individual player versus the whole concept concerning his women’s soccer team. “Our achievement with this group is to get them to believe in themselves genuinely- to understand we’re talented enough and good enough and resist temptation to be negative on ourselves,” he explained. “You have to get over individualism before you work as a team. We want to believe in ourselves in a way where we walk off the field and we invest ourselves as human beings,” Flogaites said.
By the end of the season, Flogaites wants and expects more than just winning a title this season. “I think it’s for every player at present day to finish the season with greater self-belief. The idea that we are stronger than we think we are, [no matter] whatever difficult session we put them through, [they] can use it in a positive way once they step off the field,” he explained.
The next three games for women’s soccer will be here in Macomb, September 28 at 3 p.m., September 30 at 12 p.m., and October 3 at 3:30 p.m. Kick some tail, ‘Necks!
For more information about the women’s season, visit http://www.goleathernecks.com/SportSelect.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=12000&SPID=4949&SPSID=49956.