Q&A with Soccer Head Coach Matt Potter

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
AUGUST 06, 2012

Aug. 6, 2012

 2012 Oklahoma Soccer
Jake Dalton Matt Potter
Head Coach, First Season

OU Bio | @MattPotter70
Matt Potter was named the fourth head coach in the history of the University of Oklahoma soccer program on December 27, 2011.

Throughout the past nine seasons, Potter established Washington State's program into one of the Pac-12's elite with a school record 88 wins at the helm, including three appearances in the NCAA tournament.

NORMAN, Okla. -- The second week of practice continues for the 2012 OU soccer team and SoonerSports.com recently sat down with first-year head coach Matt Potter to discuss the successful spring and moving forward into the fall.

The first test for Potter and company is this Saturday at 7 p.m. in a free exhibition at John Crain Field at the OU Soccer Complex against Tulsa.

The following week, the Sooners open the 2012 slate with former Big 12 member Nebraska on Aug. 17 at home. The game is the first of four played in Norman to begin the season. The homestand also includes LSU, Vanderbilt and Nichols State.

Season tickets are on sale now for purchase online and by phone (800-456-GoOU). Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children and senior citizens. Single-game tickets go on sale Aug. 7 and will also be available at the gate the day of the game.
Below is a brief question and answer session with coach Potter.

How do you expect the progress made in the spring to carry over into the fall?
“As we journeyed through the spring, we talked about changing the mind set of this team. We were very pleased with the progress we made and a big credit for that goes to the players. They embraced the change and they’ve embraced us as a staff. They’ve done nothing but good things in terms of their work ethic and they’ve tried to adjust what they had previously done to fit what we are trying to implement. I can do nothing but applaud them for that. The challenge is trying to pick up where we left off for the preseason. We are prepared and we are in a good place as we head into the season.”

Who are some players that stood out in the spring?
“I think from day one, we’ve been aware of who some key players could be. In particular, Kat Nutman, Zoe Dickson and Annalisa Hall, for me, really embraced what we have tried to put in place. As a result, they have made great strides personally. Those three, for me, spring to mind when I hear that question initially, but really, I’ve been pleased with the attitude and development of the whole group.”

What newcomer should fans be excited to watch this season?
“I think Renae (Cuellar) with her experience, her international pedigree and having performed on a World Cup Stage, is somebody that can come in right away and compliment the talent we already have. Obviously, we brought her here for a reason, and that was to make an impact. We are hoping that her impact can be a positive one for the team and the program.”

What is the key to success in 2012?
“I think the key to our success is for everyone to embrace the vision of this program and continue to build relationships. Everything else, soccer wise, will take care of itself if we continue to invest in each other. We are looking to build off the hard work from those that have been here prior to us. The 2010 team went to the NCAA tournament for a reason, they went to PKs in the Big 12 Championship game for a reason, and that was because they were good at what they did and that includes the players and the coaching staff. We are under the impression that the 2011 season was nothing more than a blip, and maybe the recent change will take this program back to where it belongs.”

What are your thoughts on the Big 12 Conference?
“To be honest, I do not know too much about the Big 12 teams. Obviously, we know Oklahoma State is very successful and has been. At Washington State, we had experience going against Texas A&M and Texas and playing in those environments. I am actually looking forward to a fresh challenge in playing those programs. The Big 12 teams are no different than the Pac 12 teams, they are competitive they are well coached, they are organized and they are used to winning. To be on that type of stage, is a great challenge for me, our staff and our players. The other coaches have been nothing but hospitable in our transition, but I am sure that will change when we start playing each other (laughing).”

What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of this team?

“I think, not necessarily a weakness, but a challenge of the team is the belief that if we do what we say we are going to do, that only good things will happen. If we invest and believe, then that so called weakness or challenge, will turn into a strength.

" The strength of the team is probably the athleticism and individual talent. If we can gel and mesh together, we will have a deep team. We saw glimpses of that in the spring, but it wasn’t consistent. I’ve really been encouraged with our ability to possess the ball and that helped produce a stingy defense that allowed one goal in the spring. If we can continue to do that, we are going to be very competitive in games and that is what we plan to do. So our possession has been good, but like many teams, our finishing and our creativity in the attacking third has to improve. “



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