Arizona soccer players eager to be challenged by new head coach Becca Moros

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If Arizona soccer players are bitter because their old coaching staff left them for Florida, it doesn’t show.

Senior Defender Sabrina Enciso said it brought their tight-knit team even closer together. junior goalie Hope Hisey used as motivation, Tweeter a day after the news broke that “all we have is us!”

That doesn’t mean it was easy. While other teams released their 2021 schedules in early summer, the Wildcats didn’t even have a head coach. It was confusing and, at times, confusing.

As the school searched for a replacement, Hisey ran player-only Zoom meetings so the team had a place to take comfort. She also reached out to UA admins so that players can be as connected as possible to the process.

They waited and waited and waited.

Becca Moros was finally named the new head coach on June 16, almost a month after Tony Amatofrom the start of and only two months before the start of the regular season.

“It was frantic,” Hisey said, “but it all worked.”

Star forward Jill Aguilera admits she had never heard of Moros, so she Google searched for her and then came out impressed after an hour-long phone conversation with the 36-year-old.

Moros’ career path resonates with young players. A Duke graduate, Moros was an All-American in college, played in the NWSL for nearly a decade, then served as an assistant league coach for two more.

“I was afraid of the quality of the coach, obviously I’m not worried about that now, and just the quick turnaround,” said Aguilera. “We all embraced her and knew she was going to help us improve as a team, as individuals, as people, and most of all having a coach is really empowering.”

Aguilera went further, calling Moros a “change we all needed”. An important statement given that Arizona was a perennial NCAA tournament team under Amato.

“It wasn’t like I was happy Tony was gone or anything like that.” It has nothing to do with it, ”Aguilera said. “It’s more like it’s a change from what we’re used to. I think it’s important to be able to adapt and change because we’ve been lucky to have the same coach for so many years, and it’s important to have different coaches, to see different perspectives. , to become a more adaptable player, and overall it’s also going to help you grow as a person. You are not going to be with the same people all your life.

It’s almost as if Aguilera, a sixth year of terminal, feels like a freshman again.

“Before I could tell players what kinds of exercises we do, but now I don’t know because he’s a brand new coach,” she said. “In a way, it’s really exciting because we can try new things, do different things, things that I guess professional women do, and I think that’s a really important perspective. Not just for us who are here, but for the recruits of tomorrow. “

The Wildcats completed their first week of team training on Friday. They are considered voluntary because NCAA rules prevent Moros from training his players until August 5. They will train with the strength and conditioning staff and lead their own workouts in the meantime.

Normally these are led by upper class students, but it has been a group effort as they adjust to the coaching change together.

“We’re talking with our strength and conditioning trainer Scott (Kuehn) about what he wants us to do that will help us recover and be able to do another tough session the next day,” said Aguilera. “Today we did smaller stuff. Tomorrow we’ll do some more technical stuff.

The most important thing is that players are as close to the shape of the game as possible on August 5th. Otherwise, they will be prone to injury, Moros said.

Moros said the first week of official training will be mainly used to observe and perfect what his players are already doing well. She plans to maintain Arizona’s aggressive football style, but also to incorporate more of a possession-oriented attack. It remains to be seen how much of this she can install before their first game.

Arizona has an exhibit in San Diego on August 10.

“I think they’ll be able to get a lot on board in a short period of time, but five days is really in short, ”said Moros.

While it’s too early to know what practices will look like under Moros, Enciso said Arizona players are open to anything as long as it helps the team win. Hisey joked about going from goalie to forward.

“We have a great group of players who can be coached, so it’s nothing we can’t handle,” said Enciso.

That’s good because Moros isn’t using the short preseason as an excuse. The Wildcats expect to be competitive in the Pac-12 and push for an NCAA tournament offer like they did under the previous regime.

“It will always be a goal for us, and I think it will definitely be a goal for Becca, especially with her success at Duke,” said Aguilera. “She’s going to challenge us, and I think that’s what excites us the most.”



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