Aug. 19, 2003
Quotes from the University of Arizona women's soccer team's annual media day on Tuesday, Aug. 19...
Head Coach Dan Tobias:
On being approached for the job at Arizona -- "After discussing it with my fianc? (at the time), we both decided it would be a good thing to listen to what the UA administrators had to say. It seemed like, the more we listened and the more time that went by, we really enjoyed what they had to say and the things they had presented to us. I think the initial attraction was the quality of the institution itself and the opportunity to work with two of the best people to work with in the country in (athletics director) Jim Livengood and (senior associate athletics director) Rocky LaRose."
"Between my mom and my wife, they have both observed that I like to build things. Looking back throughout my coaching career, as an assistant at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, I was able to join the staff there as an assistant, and I joined them at a time when they were making the transition to Division I. It was a chance for them to establish themselves as one of the better teams in the Big West. From there I coached in the United Soccer League. I had a team called the Central Coast Road Runners, an expansion team, and again I had the opportunity to build a team from scratch. It was great to be able to look back and say I was there for two years, and we won two national championships. From there I had a chance to go to Washington State, a great conference -- the Conference of Champions, the Pac-10, and again be at a place to build a team and be in the upper echelon of the conference. It was great to look back and say we had some of the best records and had some program firsts. It wasn't a shock to my mom or my wife that this challenge (at Arizona) was something I looked forward to, and again there are so many things that aren't going to chance. There is a great support system with academics, and the athletic department is second to none - it's one of the top athletic departments in the country. So to be able to say that I am an employee here is an honor, and I am ready to accept the challenge to make the program into something we can be proud of."
"I like everyone's attitude. Everyone has a great attitude. There are certain things as a coach you cannot teach, and everyone has a very team-centered attitude. The work rate and ethic is very good. Those things and the fact that the team plays with a lot of heart can only mean that this team is going to get better."
"We aren't going to make any predictions on how our record is going to be. We are just going to get better after every workout session and after every game and put ourselves into a position to were we are in every game."
"The margin for error in women's soccer in the Pac-10 is tiny. Sometimes the difference in the games is the differences in mistakes -- how few you make in your defensive third and if your opponent makes the same mistakes in their defensive third. The difference is how fast you can capitalize on them. I think it is going to be how all eleven of us work together. All eleven are going to defend, and all eleven are going to attack, and when we do those things, we have a tremendous amount of athleticism and we have pretty good team speed. We've got a very good team to work with, and I think we are going to get better from here on out."
"I think I am one of those people who, rather than make a number of changes initially, I want to make sure the student-athletes get to know me and I get to know them. It's a real open-door policy, and as far as changes, those are things that are going to evolve. The team is going to get used to the way I do things, and I am going to get used to them as well. In terms of other changes regarding personnel or facilities, we will deal with them as time goes on. As I told them, everyone starts with a clean slate, and the most important thing as a group is from there moving forward."
Junior forward Candice Wilks:
On the coaching change -- "Due to the situation, I was some what surprised, but it wasn't a huge shock. With the whole process of trying to find a new coach and who interviewed for the position -- I think Coach Tobias was the best fit for the team."
"It's definitely different, it's an improvement I think. Just within the first few days there is a definite improvement in team morale, as well as physical and mental improvements. Every practice, we are getting better."
"I personally like Coach Tobias a lot, as a person. It's one thing to be just a great coach, but it is another thing to be a great person as well. I really just like him as a person, completely separate from coaching. Every practice is something different that I have never done before. That's new for me, I've never had that happen before."
"I guess it really works with the team morale. First you work on that and then you can work on strategy. It seems like everyone is more vocal. It seems like before would have just a few team leaders, but now it seems like everyone has their input."
Redshirt sophomore forward Kelly Nelson:
"I'll do whatever I can do or whatever it takes to help the progress of the team. If that means taking more chances or being more of an offensive threat, that is what I expect out of myself."
On scoring so many goals in 2002 -- "It just kind of came up as a surprise, it wasn't something I expected at all. Candice had such a good year the year before while I wasn't playing. I just expected to help her, and it turned out the other way."
On the difference between high school and college soccer -- "Just the higher level of competition than I was used to. A more physical level, things don't come as easily. You have to work for your opportunities, and you have to work to get the ball and get chances, I think the whole work ethic that you have to have to be successful with such a high level of athletes."
On her focus during the off-season -- "More repetition in shooting, more repetitions on the outside shot, getting more physical, lifting to get stronger. I focused more on the upper body to be able to battle off the defenders. Even though I'm pretty good-sized, I'm not that big."
Senior midfielder Lindsey Greenwood:
On playing at Arizona last year after her transfer from Nebraska -- "I liked how they (Arizona) played. They are more of a position-oriented team, whereas Nebraska is more of direct team. When playing in the midfield at Nebraska, I never really got to touch the ball, whereas here we're more position oriented."
"We have a great coach coming in. Over the last five days, we've improved a lot since preseason. We have a lot of talent on the team; we're fast, athletic and have a lot of good soccer players. I think with Coach Tobias and everybody being on the same page, we're going to have a good team this year on offense and defense."
"When I heard Dan (Tobias) was going to be our coach, I was excited since I have heard so many good things about him, from everyone in the soccer world."
"I really like the way he runs practice. Each practice we work one specific thing -- one will be defending, then two will be defending, then we will work on incorporating it into a real game so we can see how the team defense is going to be and the team offense is going to be, so we are all on the same page."
On the team's focus for the season -- "Compete every game. To win as many games as we possibly can. No matter how many games they think you are going to win, you have to come out and try to win them all. We want to play as a team make it positive on the field, and win as many games as we can."