CLEMSON, SC – Heading into last season, Clemson women’s soccer coach Eddie Radwanski wanted to educate himself and his players. His situation was new, so there was much learning to be done in preseason camp.
This season, after recruiting a full class of his choosing and indoctrinating his returners on his preferred style of play, Radwanski’s focus has shifted from education to emphasis.
A winner by nature, Radwanski understands the nature of rebuilding, but it does not mean he enjoys it. So while there are still plenty of things to teach and learn, this preseason is about making sure his players can adequately follow through on the things they already know.
“Over the course of the next two weeks, I’m trying to assess where we are in a lot of different areas – physically, technically, tactically, and probably most importantly psychologically,” Radwanski said. “That’s when we will decide what type of group we have.”
“I trust the players to come and be ready. I look at last year as a mulligan. This year, there’s no mulligan.”
Radwanski’s program finds itself in the middle of a youth movement, but the Clemson head coach has put a priority on making sure the veterans in the program have a stake in the direction the Tigers decide to take.
“They’re going to play a big part of it,” Radwanski said. “You hope that they have improved and that they’re going to take a step forward and make a contribution to the team, whatever that contribution might be.”
Radwanski wants his entire team to take more of a hands-on ownership role this season. His preferred approach is to put a great deal of trust in his players, and the plan is to make sure this approach works well with this group of Tigers.
“However the ship’s going, they’re going to dictate it,” Radwanski said. “I can steer it, but we’re not going anywhere without the crew.”
Some of Radwanski’s goals for the season include making sure his team continues to develop an attacking mentality and trying to finish the games the team puts itself in position to win. But the prime objective during the preseason is to get everyone on the same page on the defensive end.
“Any foundation for what you’re going to do as a team is about protecting the house,” Radwanski said. “We have to protect our house. I think we’ll end up doing okay going forward because we have the good pieces to do so. But you’re not going to have success or be in games unless you defend well. In my opinion, mentality is tied to that.”
Radwanski is still smarting from what he thought were disappointing conference losses last season. Perhaps his most important goal is making sure his team tastes success in those types of contests in 2012 as they collectively look to the future.
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