Q&A Session with Coach Nelson

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
AUGUST 03, 2009

Aug. 3, 2009

NORMAN, Okla. -- The Sooner soccer team will open the regular season slate in less than three weeks and SoonerSports.com recently sat down with OU Head Coach Nicole Nelson to discuss the upcoming campaign and the offseason.

In preparation for the season opener on Aug. 21, the Sooners will host regional rival Arkansas in an exhibition game on Aug. 14 at 7 p.m.

Season tickets for the 2009 OU soccer season are now available for purchase and a package includes a ticket for each of the 11 home games.  The August 14 exhibition game vs. Arkansas will also be part of the season ticket package and will require a ticket for admission. ).

To purchase soccer tickets:
Call (405) 325-2424 or toll-free (800) 456-GoOU | Group Tickets
John Crain Field Seating Chart | Soccer Schedule

The 19-game regular season slate is highlighted by 11 regular season contests at the Sooners' home and one of the premier collegiate soccer facilities in the nation, John Crain Field at the OU Soccer Complex.

View the Q&A session below:

Q: Year one is in the books.  What are your thoughts of your first year at the helm of the Sooner soccer program?
A: “Although disappointing in regard to the win/loss column, our program showed tremendous growth in 2008-2009.  We experienced a significant change in culture concerning our work ethic and our overall winning attitude.  The development of our young players was very evident in our spring results where we finished with an undefeated record in six contests.”

Q: The Sooners had a successful spring season with a perfect 6-0 record.  What are your thoughts on how the players improved?
A: “The team grew tremendously during the spring.  I am very proud of the progress we’ve made.  We learned to win regardless of the conditions.  We played some good opponents this spring and built a foundation to work off for next fall.”

Q: Who has made the most improvement from 2008-2009?
A: “Overall, our returning players have probably developed the most, both technically and tactically.  I think the most significant change is a shift in expectations, both individually and collectively.   This team understands the system better, wants to win and our confidence level is higher.”

Q: What will be the strengths and weaknesses of the 2009 club?
A: “One strength is that we will have a number of people who have the ability to help create and score goals.   We also have a lot more depth in key positions than the 2008 team.   A weakness will come on defense as we are relatively young and inexperienced on the back line.  Fans can expect us to bring a competitive edge every time we step on the field."

Q: This team has a lot of experience returning and has added some very talented freshmen.  What can fans expect from the 2009 Sooners?
A: “We are very happy with the work our returning players put in during the spring and it showed in their development.  We have added some very talented freshmen who have the ability to contribute this fall.  Overall, we have added depth in areas we needed to improve last year.  I was pleased with our ability to score goals in the spring and we’ll hope to continue that against some very tough defenses this fall.  We will continue to be a possession-oriented team in the attack and put people under pressure on the defensive side of the ball.  Fans can expect us to bring a competitive edge every time we step on the field as we are a more balanced team from a year ago."

Q: One of your first tasks when you arrived on campus was completing the 2008 recruiting class.  What are your thoughts on the 2009 freshmen?
A: “The most exciting thing about this group is that they are committed to the collective goal of our staff and team, which is building something special here at OU. This group knows how to be successful and wants to be a part of the winning tradition that University of Oklahoma represents. This group will allow our program to compete at a higher level  in 2009 as they add a necessary depth to our current team and will create a competitive environment moving forward.”

Q: You signed Oklahoma native Dria Hampton, a US National team product, in February.  How important is it to land the top talent from the state?
A: “It is very important for a couple of reasons because Dria is a very talented play-making midfielder who will help us tremendously playing the middle to final third.  Signing the best players in the state is a crucial piece of building a substantial fan base. We believe the Sooner soccer program has tremendous potential in regard to growing our sport."

Q: What are your thoughts on the potential of program?
A: “This program has the potential to win Big 12 and National championships.  We will focus on the development of the ‘whole’ student-athlete on and off the field by creating an environment that holds them accountable and sets the achievement bar higher than it has ever been for them.  We will use the standard of excellence that currently exists in both academics and athletics at OU to leverage Sooner Soccer to the standard of success.”



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