August 2, 2010

U.S. Coach Fried Sees Need for Speed

by Corey McLaughlin | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

CATONSVILLE, Md. -- US Lacrosse named the 36-member 2010-11 United States women’s national team Sunday after three days of tryouts involving more than 80 players at UMBC. LMO was there and caught up with Team USA head coach Ricky Fried after the roster announcement. He shared thoughts on the team makeup, his goals as coach and looked ahead to the 2013 World Cup. Fried was an assistant on the 2009 World Cup championship team and is the head coach at Georgetown.

How did you think tryouts went? Are you excited to get a large group back together from the team that won the 2009 World Cup?
We have a core of [13] players back from the 2009 World Cup, which is exciting that they want to continue along with the program. Additionally, we have a host of other players that we expect to form the core for the next World Cup. Tryouts were very spirited. The intensity was great and, really, the energy level was great considering it was the last weekend in July and it can get be a little hot on the turf. It was a competitive tryout, the most competitive tryout I’ve been involved with in my four years here. So while it was very exciting, it made it very difficult, in a good way, to make the selections.
What did you want to accomplish here and did you feel you did that?
What we wanted to accomplish was gather 36 players that we felt made up the best group as opposed to looking at the most individual talent. Who played well together? Who worked well and competed on a consistent basis? It was extremely competitive. The decisions were very hard to make at the end of the day and we feel lucky to have the group that we have to work with for this year, and look forward to see who wants to stay involved with the program and who wants to compete at this level.

What are some of the strengths of this group?
Our strengths would be our athleticism. We have a tremendous amount of speed. We’re going to be able to get up and down the field. Offensively, we have a lot of firepower back. Defensively, we’re a young group, but very athletic, and I’m looking forward to working with them to bring them together as unit. We do have a small, core group back from the World Cup [on defense], but it’s going to be exciting to watch some of the young talent grow.
So you’ll be looking to build some chemistry on the defensive end?
The biggest thing is getting chemistry together and, as a whole, getting people to buy into what we’re going to try to do system-wise. While we do have a lot of talent, at the end of the day it’s not always the most talented players that win these events. It’s really the team that plays best together. That’s going to be our goal. What combinations work well? Who are the people that make their teammates better on a consistent basis while competing at the highest level?
How do you ask the players to balance the individual goals of making this team and the 2013 World Cup team, and playing well as a team?
Obviously everybody wants to be a part of that group of 18 that goes to the World Cup in 2013. Realistically that’s not going to happen because the number is 18. Getting people to buy into the sense of team or being a part of something bigger than themselves is not our biggest challenge [as coaches] necessarily, but the [players’] biggest challenge. Everybody is competitive. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be here. Everybody is talented, and there are also a number of talented people that aren’t here. These are the people who have made the commitment to show up and do the things that we ask them to do. Really, it’s who is going to be able to establish that sense of team while also competing on a regular basis.
Is there anything you want to bring differently to this team as the head coach. What are some of your goals?
I’m not sure there’s anything different, per say. My expectations are, first and foremost, that we’re going to compete in 2013, and what we want to do is have people enjoy that experience. And for the people who aren’t a part of the 18 going, have them in some way, shape or form feel responsible for the success that we’ll be able to achieve, whatever that may be. That’s important. Lacrosse is a small community and we can raise the awareness of the U.S. women’s program and raise the excitement level of being part of that program, because it’s something that you just want to do, because you get something out of it while you’re giving something back. That would be the biggest goal outside of winning the goal medal in 2013.
I know it is a few years away, but there has to be a different feeling looking ahead to this World Cup than for 2009 -- just in terms of players with World Cup experience and national experience. How nice is to see some faces that you’ve seen before?
It’s comforting, because I know they understand what we want to do. The other reason it’s really comforting is because I know they’re willing to put the team ahead of themselves and help the younger players develop, make them feel welcome and get the most out of every person -- even if that means potentially someone taking their spot, which I think is rare these days. That’s why I think it’s a special group. Their willingness to do that is what really is going to make us successful at the end of the day.
Any thoughts on the upcoming U19 tryouts [held Monday through Wednesday, also at UMBC]?
We’re excited for the U19 tryouts and trying to blend the senior national women’s team with U19 and having the women’s team be role models and references that they can go to to answer questions and let them know what’s expected of them.

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