Friday, June 13, 2008

Fran O'Brien featured in Tacoma Weekly

From The Tacoma Weekly:

When Fran O’Brien signed on to coach the Tacoma Tide in 2007, his immediate goal was to develop a talented group of young soccer players who had already achieved a place in the USL Premier Development League, conceived as the top level of men’s amateur soccer competition in the United States. How far this – or any – group of talented athletes can go, he knows, is largely a function of cultivation, of teaching the tactics and techniques elite players come to acquire.

It is becoming apparent to him that the players are learning what he is attempting to teach.

“Their passing skills and technique are quite good. We are working at staying focused on getting the ball, maintaining possession of the ball, challenging aggressively for every possession,” he said.

And the big lesson: Attack. O’Brien is seeing his team taking on a much more assertive personality. As a result of a more attacking style, the team’s scoring opportunities are increasing dramatically.

The league the Tide plays in, known as the Premier Development League, is likened to a shop window for professional teams hoping to discover aspiring professional players who may enter the MLS SuperDraft. Many of the players currently playing in Major League Soccer and elsewhere began their careers in the PDL.

O’Brien’s assessment is that in a few short years the development of players in the United States now rivals that of the players in England and Ireland. And the players on this team, most of them from the Tacoma area, have an opportunity to compete at the next level.

“They are very talented players, and they are good workers – they are learning doing a lot of the right things, making good decisions. And it is showing on the field.”

Read the entire article by author Rick Walter here.

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