Postseason Wrap Up: A Q&A with Northwestern Soccer Coach Nigel Trim
Trim speaks with Patch about the fall season.
Before the season began, Northwestern soccer coach Nigel Trim spoke with Patch about his team and its prospects for the fall of 2010. Three months later, the season has ended, and Trim has once again shared his thoughts.
Riverdale Park-University Park Patch: You told Patch before the season started that you wanted to improve on last year's 6-7 record, which you did. Considering you accomplished that goal, are you satisfied with the season?
Trim: I had a lot of aspirations for my team this season. Number one was to beat the teams we lost to in the regular season last year, which we didn't. Secondly [I wanted] to make it to the regional finals, which we fell short of by a game. Sure, we improved our record to 7-6 by virtue of winning the two postseason games, but by no means am I satisfied with our performance, because [we] never played consistently throughout the regular season.
Patch: Tell us about the season chronologically. What trends did you observe throughout the year?
Trim: I was not a fan of the scheduling this year. The majority of teams we played for the first half of the season were good, but not challenging enough for us. In the second half, we played better teams that brought us back to reality. That kind of scheduling can be misleading in terms of our record, and it really affects the attitude of the players because they adopt bad habits such as complacency and arrogance, until they get a wakeup call from a better team. We need to play a mixture of teams throughout the season.
Patch: What was the catalyst that allowed your team to advance as far as it did in the playoffs?
Trim: The team stepped up because I challenged their love for the game of soccer and [I told them] that they were representing not only themselves, but also their school and community. I reminded them that the playoffs were the perfect forum and opportunity to create an identity for Wildcat soccer, because the further you reach in the playoffs, it leaves a lasting impression on everyone as opposed to being knocked out of the first round, where you bear the label of a one and done team.
Patch: Once your team reached the playoffs, something seemed to change. Beating Bowie and Roosevelt was completely unexpected. What caused the shift that allowed those wins?
Trim: In the post season you need more than soccer skills to defeat your opponents. In our case, I focused heavily on the intangible parts of the game such as dealing with the David and Goliath perception that was created for us. I reminded my players that the name of a school, despite their many accomplishments, is insignificant when they step on the field. It is all about their 11 players versus my 11 players on that given day. They bought into that attitude and were motivated to show the other teams that they were not going to simply get steam rolled.
Patch: Now that the season has been over for more than a week, and you can reflect on it a little bit, would you call it a success?
Trim: It was a success because we won and lost as a team. There were no superstars or prima donnas and everyone was held accountable for their actions on and off the field. I was especially proud of this team because it was composed of student-athletes. They weren't the best skilled players, or physically overpowering players, but they collectively bought into a system on how to win. I always told them that they had to check their egos at the door and they did. We were proud to be a blue-collar team and Wildcat soccer will eventually claw its way back to the top.
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