Lars Richters: Explain rationale and outline expectations

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Interview by Maddy Shiber for salogo home

Crew Soccer Academy Wolves coach Lars Richters was named 2014 U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-15/16 Coach of the Year for the Central region. Richters is an English teacher at Livonia (Mich.) Stevenson High School, his alma mater where he also served as boys head coach for 14 years through 2011. He was 2009 Development Academy Coach of the Year after guiding Derby County Wolves to the U-15/16 national crown. He played college ball at Yale and professionally indoors for the Detroit Rockers of the NPSL.

When and why did you start coaching?
LARS RICHTERS: I started by working camps as a youth player and gradually evolved to working for teams while I was still active as a player. As my playing career was coming to an end, I decided that I wanted to make high school teaching a career, and coaching became a natural companion.

What do you enjoy most about coaching?
LARS RICHTERS: I love the idea of trying to have a positive impact on young people. Now that I’ve gotten older, I’m grateful for all the various coaches that have impacted my life in a positive way and I hope to do that for the next generation. Also, I just love the game, I love soccer, and as I can’t play it very well anymore as I’m getting older, this is a good way for me to stay involved.

What do you like the least?
LARS RICHTERS: I don’t enjoy the tryout process, especially not being to able to offer spots to players or having to go through a cut or selection process. After all these years, that still doesn’t come easily to me. However, although I don’t like it, I understand that it’s a necessary evil of competitive sports.

What’s the most amusing thing you’ve witnessed or experienced while coaching?
LARS RICHTERS: When I was coaching a U-8 or U-9 team, one of the players we had in goal was distracted by a frog in the field. The opponent dribbled around the goalie and scored on the wide-open goal. That reminded me of the amusing things that happen while coaching young players and provided me with perspective in all of my coaching endeavors.

Who were your most influential coaches?
LARS RICHTERS: The first name that comes to me is actually my high school coach, Pete Scerri. He’s one of the first coaches who inspired me and helped me to dream big and I give him a lot of credit for preparing me for my later accomplishments. I also have to say that the coaches that I work with in my club influence me. We try to continue our education as coaches and I try to learn as much as I can from both local coaches as well as the very best coaches that I watch on TV. I always try to keep learning.

Are their things your coaches did that you have adopted as a coach?
LARS RICHTERS: I continue to borrow exercises from past coaches and also pick up things in my club or from courses or other coaching activities. The one thing that I try to apply to my coaching is the way that other coaches deal with man management. On the plus side, I’ve had coaches who are very good in this area, and I try to imitate them in terms of being communicative with players, laying down clear expectations, and trying to inspire players to do well.

What's the biggest mistake youth coaches make?
LARS RICHTERS: The excessive focus on winning at all costs. It’s even a trap that I have fallen into in my coaching career, because we’re all competitive people and wish to be successful. However, trying to prioritize the improvement and development of the players and the teams is most important.

Also, sometimes youth coaches don’t communicate very well with their players and teams, and, especially in the case of youth soccer, with the families.

I think we as youth coaches sometimes expect players to read our minds rather than being very clear with what we expect out of them. Likewise, I think we sometimes expect parents or families to follow us blindly without explaining our rationale or outlining our expectations properly. So I would say that communication is a very important part of the job.

What was the highlight of your playing career?
LARS RICHTERS: My parents were both born in the country of Latvia and I do have dual Latvia and American citizenship, so I did have the opportunity to play for the Latvia national team. That was a memorable event, not only for the soccer side, but also for my family heritage.

What were your favorite teams growing up and which teams do you enjoy watching most now?
LARS RICHTERS: As a young player I tended to follow individual players more than I did teams. I admired players such as Michel Platini, Lothar Matthaeus, and Zinedine Zidane. I gravitated toward those creative center midfield players. Recently, I’ve been following Liverpool for a number of years. I tend to have an allegiance toward that club at the moment. I appreciate attractive soccer that’s also played with real passion and with a commitment to the team.

How would you rate the USA's performance at the 2014 World Cup?
LARS RICHTERS: The first word that comes to my mind is “encouraging.” I have to say that I admire the team and coaching staff for the confidence and boldness with which they approached competing, in perhaps the toughest group in the entire World Cup. I was impressed with the fact that they were able to line up with some of the top nations in the world and still be competitive in games. I keep coming back to that word, “encouraging.” I embraced it as a fan this summer without question.

If you had a magic wand, how would you use it to improve American youth soccer?
LARS RICHTERS: Although this would truly need a magic wand, I would love to take money out of the process. If players with financial needs could still have the same opportunities, that would be a tremendous boost for this sport in our country. If finances weren’t a roadblock, the things that we could do developmentally would be a real positive step. If we could do away with money, I’d love to see the strides that we could make with players in our country.

Lars Richters
Club: Crew Soccer Academy Wolves/Michigan Wolves SC.
Hometown: Livonia, Michigan
College: Yale (All-Ivy 1990)
Pro Playing Career: Detroit Rockers (NPSL/1991-1998)

Buckingham scores first goal for UNC

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WILMINGTON, North Carolina - Freshman striker Megan Buckingham's first half goal was all the scoring No. 4 North Carolina needed as the Tar Heels edged UNC Wilmington, 1-0, in the women's soccer exhibition opener for both teams Tuesday night at the UNCW Soccer Stadium.

The Seahawks play another 6 p.m. home friendly Saturday against Duke, while the Tar Heels return home to entertain Missouri in their final preseason tune up on Friday at 4:30 p.m.

With threatening skies hovering around the coast, the two teams locked up in a defensive battle until Buckingham took a pass from sophomore forward Sarah Ashley Firstenberg in the box and tapped the ball into the right-hand corner of the net at 39:10 to give the Tar Heels a 1-0 lead at intermission and the only goal of the game.

UNC finished with a 13-1 advantage in shots, but the Seahawks allowed just four on frame. UNCW goalkeepers Carolyn Huddy and Liisa Rahkola, combined for three saves, with each goalie playing one half.

Original Article

Summer assists on winning U20 goal vs Brazil

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EDMONTON, Canada (Aug. 8, 2014) – U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team forward Lindsey Horan scored an 82nd-minute goal and propelled the USA to a much-needed 1-0 victory against Brazil in both teams’ second Group B match at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup at Commonwealth Stadium.

With the victory, the USA moves into second place in the group (1-1-0, 3 points). In Friday’s earlier Group B game, Germany and China PR played to a goal-heavy 5-5 draw that saw seven tallies in the second half alone. Germany leads the group at 1-0-1 (4 points), followed by the USA, China PR (0-0-2, 2 points) and Brazil (0-1-1, 1 point).

The U.S. U-20 WNT caps off Group B play against China PR on Tuesday, Aug. 12, at Moncton Stadium. The match kicks off at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and WatchESPN.

The top two teams advance to the tournament’s quarterfinal stage on Aug. 16.

In addition to Horan’s goal, the USA had an energetic second half against Brazil that included a Margaret “Midge” Purce right-footed shot that banged off the crossbar and a Taylor Racioppi header that just missed the frame.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Lindsey Horan (Summer Green), 82nd minute: After more than 170 minutes of scoreless play, the USA finally put an end to its drought with a solid build-up from second-half sub Summer Green. Green fought off two Brazil defenders on the right side, dribbled to the end line and crossed to the middle of the box where Lindsey Horan arrived to bury a low strike past Brazil goalkeeper Leticia. The tally was Horan’s first goal of the tournament, eighth this year in international play and the 21st goal of her U-20 tenure. USA 1, BRA 0

Summer Green tagged to vie for the 2014 MAC Hermann Trophy

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KANSAS CITY, KANSAS -  University of North Carolina junior forward Summer Green (Milford, Mich.) is one of 35 NCAA Division I women's soccer players tagged as the leading players to watch this season that could vie for the 2014 MAC Hermann Trophy.

The MAC Hermann Trophy is the most prestigious individual award in NCAA soccer presented annually to one male and one female athlete. The winners will be announced Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, at the trophy presentation banquet at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.

Green is currently in Canada playing with Team USA as a member of the 2014 Under 20 World Cup squad.  Green heads into her junior year at fourth-ranked North Carolina, which begins its slate August 22 versus Stanford in Chapel Hill, after being named third-team All-ACC as a sophomore in 2013.  As a freshman in 2012 on Carolina's NCAA championship team, Green was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team as well as to the Soccer America All-Freshman Team and the first-team Top Drawer Soccer Freshman Team of the Season.

The 2014 Watch Lists were announced earlier today on NSCAATV.com on the "2014 NSCAA College Soccer Review Show," which also revealed the 2014 NSCAA/Continental Tire Preseason College Rankings for NCAA Division I men's and women's teams.

The lists are compiled by the NSCAA Men's and Women's NCAA Division I All-America Committees, based on their analysis of returning All-America and All-Region players, as well as any prominent newcomers.

Green was Carolina's third-leading scorer in 2013 with 24 points on nine goals and six assists.  As a freshman in 2012, Green scored seven goals and had eight assists for 22 points.

Near the end of the collegiate regular season, NCAA Division I coaches that are NSCAA members will vote on their top choices and the lists will be narrowed down to the top 15 players. College soccer fans will also have the opportunity to participate in the selection process, by voting for their favorite semifinalist in November at the MAC Hermann Trophy website, managed by LockerDome.

Carolina's Hermann Trophy winners have included Shannon Higgins, Kristine Lilly, Mia Hamm, Tisha Venturini, Cindy Parlow, Catherine Reddick and Crystal Dunn.  Dunn is the most recent Tar Heel to win the award in 2012.

From that pool of 30, six finalists (three men, three women) will be chosen for the award. The winners will be announced in January.

For more information about the history of the MAC Hermann Trophy and a list of past winners, visit the MAC Hermann Trophy information page at the NSCAA website.

For more information about the history of the MAC Hermann Trophy, and news and video from previous MAC Hermann presentations, visit lockerdome.com/machermanntrophy.

ECNL NTC Top 10

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Last weekend, top girls talent descended on Portland, Oregon to compete in front coaches and scouts at the Nike ECNL NTC/id2.

MORE COVERAGE:Final Day Stars | Day 1 Highlights | Day 1 Top Players

Two Hawks made the top standouts from the camp.

Marisa Viggiano: If you were to compare Viggiano’s playing style to a professional it would most resemble Xavi for Barcelona. Viggiano comes with a world class touch and great composure on the ball which allows her to be a constant source of possession in the crowded central midfield. She displayed all the qualities you want in the center of the park. She was constantly aware of her surroundings and prolifically changed the direction of attack. She displayed great weighted passes into streaking runners and chose the simple ball when it was necessary. Her possession retention rate was likely 100% or close to it. She played consistently throughout the weekend.   

Natalie Winters: Winters appeared to be one of the stronger defenders in the camp. Winters showed great composure when with the ball on the backline, and she was willing to pass the ball around when others might force it. Winters is a great athlete with a quick first step that cut off some dangerous plays. One incident where she was pushed off the ball might suggest a little strengthening is needed but her ability as a center back was impressive.