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The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON

Huskies Head Coach Jamie Clark talks about 2011 season

Jamie Clark left Creighton to become the head coach of the University of Washington soccer men in 2011. I checked in with Clark to get his take on his first season with the purple and gold and what’s ahead in the offseason.

by David Falk

“The Pac-12 is great conference,” Clark tells me as he thinks back on a season that ended just over a month ago. “When last year’s champion (Cal) can go winless the next season, then you know you are in a ultra competitive environment that is good for both teams and players.”

Jamie Clark.

U-dub snub calls for schedule upgrades

The NCAA selection committee didn’t see it that way this year, snubbing Washington and thus ensuring only UCLA would be in the post-season tournament. Clark was disappointed, but would rather think about the future. “It was unfortunate that a consensus top 25 team at the end of the regular season doesn’t make the NCAA tournament,” he says, “but instead of complaining about why we were left out I’d rather focus on the positives of a great season. We have changed our schedule for future years so if we can win 12 games in future seasons I think we will not only make the tournament, but be a seeded team.”

The Huskies played well while finishing second in the league. “We set goals and we met them which is all you can ask for. We set the bar at 12 wins and 7 conference wins. In every year up until now that would have had us right on the cusp of winning the Pac-12 and earning us entry into the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately this year was an anomaly in terms of what it was going to take to make the tournament.”

Washington senior Brent Richards will soon try to break into MLS with the Portland Timbers. (Stephanie Brownfield)

Seniors

Clark is thankful for what his senior class did in their final season. “I was pleased that our seniors played to their potential and led our team back to national prominence. It was our senior’s last chance to play at UW, so it was great that they ended on a high note. We had a very talented senior class and I think the majority will continue to play. At what level will be figured out over the next few months…Brent Richards will sign a homegrown contract with the Timbers this week. Jake Hustedt and Jamie Finch both have a good shot to get drafted in the MLS SuperDraft or the Supplemental Draft. Finally, Nick James and Casey McCool are finishing up school and then will weigh up their options.”

Recruiting

Replacing the senior talent is the next challenge ahead.  I asked Clark about getting top-notch players to come to soggy Seattle. “I see very few challenges to recruiting players to UW. If you are a young player, what is there not to like about the University of Washington? It’s a great school in a great city. Add to this, we are part of an incredible athletic department…so our (soccer) future looks great.”

Keeping them local

In previous years local soccer followers have wondered why it seems so much talent decides to go out of state. Clark addresses the topic. “Very simply, we are going to work hard to keep the top players in this state here at home. We’ve made a great start this year by getting verbal commitments from the three best players entering college in 2012. Now we are looking at the 2013′s and I think we have made great inroads with the top couple of guys.”

The Dawgs are limited when it comes to roster spots, though. “We have to be very picky as we only have room for 3 or 4 instate players so we are really focusing on the best of the best. In a state producing as many good players as Washington it puts us in a great spot.”

The Dawgs have six talented seniors to replace before next season. (Stephanie Brownfield)

A little Rave Green

The Washington offseason is a chance for Clark to recruit, but also an opportunity for Husky players to mingle with the professionals across town. “We are very fortunate to have the very best MLS franchise in our city. The Sounders first team give our present players something to aspire toward. In the offseason our guys get to train with these players which provides our guys with great role models who show the level they need to reach and what it takes to get there.”

Spring Teaching

Next up in school colors are spring matches in April and May. “We don’t put a huge emphasis on winning spring games, but understand that if we are doing things correctly then the result will be victories.”

It is a time that can make all the difference though, says Clark. “The Winter and spring are when great players and teams make huge improvements and average ones stand still. This is a time when we can really teach and work at areas that need improvement. Winning and losing is not paramount so we can break the game down and make sure players understand concepts and do things correctly. It may mean a temporary step backwards, but we know that it will allow the team and individuals to be better in the long term.”

The Huskies were awarded a penalty kick on this play against Cal. (Wilson Tsoi)

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8 comments on “Huskies Head Coach Jamie Clark talks about 2011 season

  1. goalWA.net
    December 31, 2011

    This article is generating buzz for Clark’s statement in regards to Brent Richards and MLS / Timbers. Coach Clark adds this to the story:

    “It’s been known by everyone close to Brent/the league that Portland will try to sign him to a homegrown. I know they are working on the details and I believe it will happen but the timeframe is uncertain. He is not in the mls combine which should be a clear indication that something is going on to MLS followers.” —Jamie Clark

  2. goalWA.net
    January 1, 2012

    Timbers owner Paulson tweeting about Richards / HGP right now:

    http://twitter.com/#!/MerrittPaulson

    they should be focused on their own homegrowns, not on what we are doing w/ our local guys. PDL etc is big investment for us

    i think a big part of HG issue is lack of communication w/ media. HG (and other) league player rules are very complicated

    i am not substantiating anything, but this guy has far more connection to us than PDL. fully qualifies

  3. Pingback: Timbers announce pre-season calendar along with first ever home grown player, Brent Richards | Portland OR DIRECTV Service

  4. Pingback: Timbers announce pre-season calendar along with first ever home grown player, Brent Richards | Eugene OR DIRECTV Service

  5. Pingback: The Wash: The state of the STATE of Soccer | goalWA.net

  6. Pingback: College Previews 2012: Washington Husky Men « goalWA.net

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This entry was posted on December 30, 2011 by in College Soccer and tagged , , , , , , .

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