Sept. 14, 2009
Kentucky Head Men’s Soccer Ian Collins
Opening Statement …
“Yeah, we are doing OK. We have a big game coming up Wednesday and hopefully we can get a big crowd out there. We averaged over 1,500 at home last weekend, which is great. We haven’t lost for a long time, which is good. We have very high expectations this year and we were bitterly disappointed in the final results last season. We are not trying to make a point, but we are trying to make a point. We have a lot of experience and have four or five guys that will be good level professionals which is good at the college level. We are playing OK, we still have a long way to go but we are getting better. We played well on Friday night against the team that was in the final eight last year and with due respect to them we could have won quite easily. We will try to see if we can get better, that is what it is about, not being happy. Again, we are anticipating a big crowd Wednesday. I was very impressed in our crowd last weekend, the amount of people that showed on a Labor Day weekend was great. Hopefully this Wednesday, the students will show up and throw things, jump up and down and make noise.”
Q: Can you talk about Matt Lodge?
Q: Did you see, giving his past that he would make an impact like he is?
“Yeah, this is an English kid that we got that is a freshman who is a terrific player. We have a lot of young players here. It is hard for a couple of them to break into the lineup. If there is two better freshmen in America, I would like to see them play. The kid already has two goals, one assist and is a great player. I don’t use that word lightly, this kid is great. He has already created an identity for himself here, and scored two goals yesterday. He played about 170 minutes on the weekend in 85 degree weather, and he is English. If you put those things together it usually doesn’t go so well. He is terrific. We have good players. Barry Rice is a first team All-American, Jason Griffiths is one of the best three players in our conference and will be a pro player some day. Dan Williams is great as well. Lodge is as good as any right now and we will see where he ends up.”
A: “You hope. It is a big change in culture. England and America are similar in a lot of respects, but it is always a question whether a kid is going to adjust or not. There is no question that he is the real deal. He is a very bright kid, which in England it is uncommon that kids can do both. He wants an education and he has a chance to be a good level professional as well. You want to get kids that want to go to school and get into a different culture and experience different things. I have no doubt that at 22 years old, he is going back (to England) and will be playing for a lot of money. He is a good kid and very humble too. He has been embarrassed a bit by some of the national attention that the he has been getting. He is a blue collar kid that works hard. If anyone has seen him play already, you understand what I am talking about. He scored a free kick yesterday from 35 yards and just turned his back and walked off. He tried it again a little later but it didn’t quite work. We have a similar kid named Cam Wilder from Atlanta, too. The kid is an engine and we are lucky to have good players.”
Q: On how nice it is to have Barry Rice and Dan Williams back on defense when you start to prepare for the other team?
“I think that when you are a coach and you have good players it helps you game plan period. What Barry does is that he enables us to keep a high line and keep pressure on the other team. Our team presses relentlessly for 90 minutes. We play three strikers that work and do a lot of things. If you can’t win balls at the back and don’t have a dominate physical force than you have to spend time in your half. That doesn’t fit our style so we put Barry in the back and we are good in the back in that regard. That is what we are built about. College soccer is about mistakes, if you can make less mistakes than the other team and force them into mistakes than you will do well. You can’t compare college soccer to pro soccer in Europe. It is a whole different game. People want to compare both and it is not comparable. In our game, Barry and those guys on the back enable us to do what we want to do. If those guys have a bad day then we have to change some things quick."