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Messages - jknezek

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East Region football / Re: FB: New Jersey Athletic Conference
« on: July 10, 2015, 09:26:11 am »
Now, we are 3rd in state for Avg SAT scores behind W&M and UVA. It keeps getting tougher and tougher to recruit.

For public schools. An important distinction. CNU is a good public school, but there are a few D3 privates in VA that are tougher to recruit to from an academic standpoint. W&L is in it's own category, but H-SC, and Bridgewater have lower acceptance rates than CNU, and H-SC, Bridgewater and R-MC have basically the same accepted SAT/ACT scores. If you want to play at the D3 level, and are looking for public school affordability, CNU is your ONLY option in VA. That is a pretty good advantage that the public NJAC schools don't possess.

None of that takes away from my respect for CNU as a school. It is a very good one and absolutely on the upswing. I'd still rank them fourth among Virginia public schools, UVa, W&M, JMU, CNU/GMU, depending on your interests of course, but that list is nothing to sneeze at. Throw in Va Tech, VCU, and VMI and if I could find a job, I'd move to Va so my kids could go to the state university system. It's one of the best in the nation in my opinion.

Women's soccer / Re: Women's World Cup 2015 - Canada
« on: July 09, 2015, 08:57:46 am »
I can't believe you guys haven't posted lately.

Too busy eating crow. That was a team that peaked at the right time. The group stage was very poor, but every elimination game they got better. From the weak performance against Columbia to a good but flawed game against China, a wonderfully dominant performance against Germany and finishing with the shock and awe start to the Japan game. I don't know why they started so slow and looked so poor through 4 games, but the last three games showed a team growing and gaining strength and confidence. They are worthy of being world champions without a doubt.

General football / Re: Shirts, and stickers and decals oh my!
« on: July 08, 2015, 07:25:08 pm »
Pretty sure I saw one of every NJAC t-shirt on the boardwalk in Ocean City NJ the last week. A good chunk of the MAC also. Saw about half the Centennial and a few E8 hats and shirts as well. My wife was mightily sick of appointing them out!

Women's soccer / Re: Women's World Cup 2015 - Canada
« on: June 29, 2015, 09:06:28 am »
Was at Friday's game~ Great atmosphere!
Also,  the best performance for USA.   The score did not reflect the run of play.  The passing was much more crisp than it had been in previous outings.  For the first time in the tournament,  USA looked like a potential champion.   Tuesday's match versus Germany looks to be the big hurdle! 

Germany is formidable, but many would argue France is the team that should have advanced.  The USA will have to play their best game to hope to go through.

I was encouraged by Friday. They looked many, many times better. Still worry that there is no killer touch in front of goal. Amy Rodriguez put in a heck of a shift, but she couldn't put shots anywhere near frame. Instead of Wambach coming in, I would have rather seen Leroux and let the U.S. continue to run and press.

I'm not holding out a lot of hope against Germany. I just don't think the U.S. has the offense. But Julie Johnson gives me hope that the defense will continue to thrive after Christie Rampone's long and wonderful career closes out.

Women's soccer / Re: Women's World Cup 2015 - Canada
« on: June 23, 2015, 09:50:29 pm »

I do disagree with one point. I think that the failure to develop better players is not a gender issue, but an American soccer issue.  I've addressed this before and gotten "smited" for my thoughts, but if you look at ODP the coaches have a love affair with big physical players even when their football skills are lacking.  Physicality is great when matched with football skills,  alone it only takes you so far.  Its a problem with both the men's and women's game.

Here's hoping for some creativity!  We'll be at Landsdowne screaming our heads off for USA regardless!

I agree 100% and made similar comments in an earlier post. But, I think it is changing on the men's side with the MLS development programs and youth teams and some of the national youth development programs. Mostly the MLS sides, where they are building long term. The addition of USL affiliates is a massive step forward. The more of those feeder programs exist, the deeper the talent pool, the more time in system, the better chance of discovering late bloomers and the more spots for the skilled to show how well they compete against the athletically gifted. The women's game does not have this. Unlike the WNBA, there is no sugar daddy to support a massive money loser. MLS isn't in that position and won't be for many, many years. Decades if ever. Unlike in Europe, a women's league is going to need to find and develop its own fans outside the men's structure. So far that has been a failure multiple times.

College programs, both men's and women's, are poor developers of talent. Great identifiers of physical attributes, but that's about it.

Women's soccer / Re: Women's World Cup 2015 - Canada
« on: June 23, 2015, 09:00:22 am »
Another ugly win. Extremely unimpressed with the U.S. attack. It lacks creativity, cohesiveness, even individual performance of any kind is missing. Complete reliance on long balls and physical play. It's like watching a college team, and that's not necessarily a compliment. Abby is a tree. Most people think being like an Oak is a compliment. It's not. She has lost her mobility and serving long balls to her and crosses isn't working. The few creative talents are being stifled in this system. The midfield looks lost.

At least the back line is holding up, but that's easy to do when you don't have to build from the back or come forward to help in attack. Coke bottles lined up inside the 50 when the team is attacking is a bush league tactic. Booming the ball long or out of bounds is the best a h.s. team can do, not our national team.

Jill Ellis has taken this team backward tactically. I fully expect them to get past China on the strength of their defense and superior athletes. After that? A decent skilled, physically gifted team should take them apart if they don't improve drastically.

The Algarve Cup results of the last couple years have told the story. Someone needs to start teaching girls at a young age to play soccer, not to run a track meet with the biggest foot. The developmental squads in European leagues are going to permanently leapfrog us in a short time. The failure of a women's professional soccer league to take root, make money, and support development will soon take the U.S. out of the top tier of women's soccer.

North Region football / Re: University Athletic Association
« on: June 19, 2015, 01:10:39 pm »
Out of curiosity, when should we expect for d3football's preview magazine to be available?

around mid-august I believe

Women's soccer / Re: Women's World Cup 2015 - Canada
« on: June 17, 2015, 08:41:30 am »
Very uninspiring. I'm glad they are through, won the group, yada, yada but I feel like they just aren't there. Nothing clicks up front. Very disjointed and hard to watch for a WC favorite.

I always thought Berea would be a good fit for the SAA (and the "old" SCAC and CAC).   

But does the SAA really need to do anything?   The addition of football programs at Berry and Hendrix brought the SAA up to seven football playing schools without adding WashU and Chicago into the mix.    Isn't seven enough to give the conference an automatic bid into the playoffs?

It is. It's just miserable to fill your open dates. Most conferences at 8 or 9 conference games don't need to be looking for an OOC game as late in the year as the SAA teams do. So it gets really hard to find an opponent when almost everyone else is in conference swing.

Wash U is off to the CCIW. Thinking Chicago heads to the NACC or MIAA. Maybe the MWC if the want to do divisions. Makes way more sense than the SCAC

North Region football / Re: University Athletic Association
« on: June 12, 2015, 01:39:15 pm »
That's interesting. The SAA affiliation was unwieldy. Chicago will need to find someone to play. Being a D3 independent is a cast iron witch after the first two or three weeks of the season. Shame about losing the UAA rivalries.

Women's soccer / Re: Women's World Cup 2015 - Canada
« on: June 10, 2015, 09:32:42 pm »
I agree with your assessment.  Do you see it as a problem with leadership or the need to build a soccer culture.  My experience has been that leadership perpetuates the athleticism over skill.  You see young players who have great skills, but they seem -often- to get passed over by physical players with less skill.  I don't think its a coincidence that Rapinoe was the best player on the pitch in game 1.  She's probably our most skilled player.

It's a development issue. The best way to field a travel team or even a college team that wins is to have the most athletic kids. The best way to win at the highest professional levels is not always the best athletes. I would almost guarantee you David Beckham as a child does not make a state select travel team as a kid in the U.S. He was much too slow and his skills wouldn't impress in those 2 day tryouts. Even Messi would struggle in the American youth development system. Not because he isn't or wasn't the best player on the field, but because we emphasized the wrong things. His size would have gotten him cut an awful lot from elite programs here. Fortunately it is changing. Coaches now actually understand the game instead of being a random father spending time with his kids. So quality is being recognized instead of just physical attributes.

Unfortunately college soccer in this country often doesn't help. The limited practice and season time means that the best way a coach can win is not necessarily by having the most skilled team, or by having a team that works together. There isn't enough time to actually make a college team based on skilled players and soccer IQ gel. So generally the teams with the best athletes win. Watch some PDL games and you will see the same thing. Short seasons, no team consistency or chemistry = athletic kick and run teams having success. Long term building and talent development like happens in more established soccer countries means athletic is still incredibly important, but it can be balanced by soccer IQ.

We have to get to the same point where we aren't valuing the fastest sprinter, but the most purposeful on his runs. We don't worry about the most physically imposing player, but the one who makes the best decisions.

Women's soccer / Re: Women's World Cup 2015 - Canada
« on: June 09, 2015, 06:01:29 pm »
I think the U.S. women's game has always been a physical and fitness oriented contest. Title IX gave us some tremendous athletes and while the rest of the world was developing female programs in the 90s and early naughts, we were well ahead. Now I think we still have great athletes, but the sophistication of soccer in the rest of the world is starting to show. We still play a very physical and fitness style, just like we have on the men's side. We are very good at it. But we are a naive soccer country. On the men's side we haven't caught up tactically and our a long ways away. On the women's side the tactical savvy of other countries is starting to catch up to our head start.

On both sides we need our athletes to become more soccer smart. That will occur as more and more youth and kids programs are actually taught by increasingly savvy coaches as opposed to dad's who may or may not have watched a series of VHS tapes in the 90s on how soccer is played and believe that the best way to teach soccer is to make kids run laps and practice shooting.

"So instead of sending you to the electric chair, we're going to dangle you off a cliff by a rope and see how long you can hold on. Sound good?"

More or less. But the thing to remember is how many people are in support of UAB football. They aren't thinking of it as hanging off the cliff even though that is the reality. They were willing to accept anything but the electric chair. UAB needs probably 50MM to 100MM in facilities upgrades to look like a decent D1 program. A new fieldhouse, coaches offices, practice turf, and a legitimate stadium. Legion Field is an ancient mess. Those upgrades are in addition to the 17MM the school said was needed and was raised to keep the program 5 more years. I think they raised commitments for about 10MM of that 50-100. Good luck getting the rest.

Maybe UAB football was only mostly dead:

There must be someone named Max involved in this story in some way.

Nah. Just a ridiculous Board of Trustees and a president that completely misunderstood the p.r. realities. I'm not going to say the BOT strong armed him, because I legitimately think Dr. Watts, like most previous UAB admins, doesn't care for anything but the Med School, but he went along with what the BOT wanted quite happily. It blew up in his face and the p.r. nightmare was spreading to the whole school, including the Medical School. In order to stop it he had to eat crow and the BOT let him take the fall.

Unfortunately UAB is in an even worse place now than it was 12 months ago. They still have no BOT support. They still have some of the worst D1 facilities in the nation. They haven't raised enough money to fix the facilities, but they have raised enough money to limp the program along. And any and all good players that helped them get to 6-6 last year, the first non-losing season in a long time, have left. So they need to completely rebuild the program with no facilities, no players, no assistant coaches, and still no hope of getting any money from the BOT. They may have gone 6-6 last season, but I bet they don't reach that mark again for at least 5 years, and that's only if Coach Clarke pulls off a miracle.

The program should have been better supported by the BOT over the last 25 years, but it wasn't because the Tuscaloosa focused Board never cared. It shouldn't have been cancelled, but it was because the BOT finally found an excuse. Having been cancelled, it shouldn't have been brought back. It's going to suck, and it's all the BOT's fault and they will be quite happy that it sucks and will slyly and whenever possible point out that they were right and it should have been cancelled.

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