Missouri soccer coach Bryan Blitz has his team coming into this weekend’s NCAA tournament fresh off the program’s first Big 12 tournament championship and a record season for wins. I had a chance to talk with coach about the season, his approach to coaching and he gives tips to young girls who want to advance their soccer skills.
Missouri will play Evansville on Friday at 7:30 up at Walton Stadium on the University of Missouri campus. If Mizzou wins, they will play the winner of Memphis and Illinois on Sunday. Tickets on Friday are $7 for adults, $4 for kids and seniors and that’s for both games.
I want to say, coach Blitz was very patient with me because the extent of my soccer knowledge comes from watching my son and daughter play 4 on 4 at the YMCA, where the games consisted of 8 kids all running after the ball. So, I wanted to try to get a real good understanding of how the game is played and I probably asked some basic questions, that for anyone who follows soccer would think are pretty self explanatory, but I compare my soccer questions to my wife asking why you intentionally walk a batter in baseball. She always says "I thought the point is to get three outs and not put anybody on base?"
Anyway, Blitz talked about strategy, game planning and what a coach does and can’t do during a game. I found it interesting how Blitz compared a soccer player to Mizzou quarterback Chase Daniel but at the same time, I realized that once a game begins, so much of the game relies on player’s skills. What a novel idea!
No manager telling a catcher what pitch to call. No coach talking into a headset telling a quarterback or linebacker what play they should call at the line. The players need to think on their feet while in the middle of competition and apply what they’ve learned in practice to the game without the coach telling them before hand.
While you may be like me and not know much about soccer or argue that soccer is boring because you never see anyone score, remember this…much of the game is based on the player’s skill and decision making. So what you see on the field is mostly created by the player and not signaled in from coaches.
After my conversation with coach Blitz, it really changed my viewpoint of how to watch soccer. I hope you agree.