Women's Gold Cup Quote Sheet
CHICAGO (Thursday, June 22, 2000) -
April Heinrichs, U.S. Women's National Team head coach
Her thoughts on the job as National Team coach so far: "I haven't felt nervous on the bench, I haven't felt pressure. These girls play so hard that as a coach you don't have to get on them. You get a sense that with this team you are always in it, and it takes the pressure off as a coach."
On the two young goalkeepers on the team: "Every day our two young goalkeepers step in the goal, their growth is so quick that it is remarkable. Every time Jenny Branam and Siri Mullinix step in the goal, they are getting better and better every day, and I have great confidence in both of them."
On how her job will change once the WUSA begins play: "I feel like I will get some sleep. I haven't given it much thought. The league is going to be a springboard for improvements for the U.S. national team. The girls are talking about it every day, and are extremely excited to get started."
On holding back from an opponent to gain an advantage before the match: "It's my sense that you don't hold everything back; at the same time, you don't give them everything. The way we'll approach that is by mixing up the starting lineups and systems of play, not for the sake of throwing off our opponent or keeping them guessing, but because we want to make sure that all the tools in the shed are sharp and ready to go. It doesn't matter what the opponent is doing, we have something else that we've had success with and we can counteract anything they do."
On pre-tournament preparations and looking ahead to a possible rematch with China: "Our biggest focus this week is to push the ball around as much as possible and attack against Trinidad & Tobago. We're certainly not looking to China because we have three games to play. Our journey through the Gold Cup and ultimately our performance at the end of the Gold Cup are important to us."
On the recent Pacific Cup in Australia: "I think we'll look back on the schedule and say that one of the best things we could have done was go to Australia for the Pacific Cup. One of the best things we could have done was go to Europe to play Norway, China and Germany. There were so many parallels that the Pacific Cup share with the experience we'll have in Australia for the Olympics... the travel to get there, the food, the culture, the climate. The amount of games, and the fact that we could face adversity early in the tournament like we did in the first round of the Pacific Cup, all of these things were great lessons for us. I feel that it was a phenomenal dry run for us in so many ways."
On setting goals for the team: "I believe in controllable goal-setting. I don't have control over wins and losses, but I have control over the style of play, the system of play and who we play, and our tactics. I have set a lot of goals on an individual basis for the players and the team. I don't believe in a lot of long-term goals. For every one long-term goal I set four short-term goals. One of the goals I've set for the team is performing well abroad. That's a critical thing we've been talking about since March. Consistency and the ability to perform not once, but two nights later, two nights after that, two nights later, and ultimately in the final, is critical."
On her plans for Michelle Akers: "It's hard to tell right now when she'll be back. She's spent 11 months away from team, and that's a long time. She's had numerous knee surgeries, but has never had shoulder surgery, and one of the things I've been told is that shoulder surgery is one of the single most painful surgeries you can have. We're taking it week-to-week with her. What we know is that even when she's rusty she's still a world class player."
On her plans for selecting players for the Gold Cup: "We will start with the roster we feel will suit the system we'll play and will make substitutes from there. We don't turn our faucet on and off. We turn it on and the water flows the whole time. Goals come and goals go in the game of soccer. We can't pick and choose when we're going to let them flow and when we're not going to let them flow. We're going to keep the faucet on full force. We will not pull in the reigns and hold up on any team."
Her thoughts on Canada: "Canada are much more organized than they ever were before. Their spirit and fight are greater than ever before. You can see a good coach immediately in terms of organization and spirit of players, and I believe that hiring their new coach has been helpful. We saw Canada in Algarve Cup, in the Nike U.S. Cup, in Australia, and now for the Gold Cup, so they're getting around. They're going to be a great CONCACAF opponent."
On the possible decision to replace injured veterans with younger players: "Without them out on the field, there isn't going to be a decision to make. We are going to allow them to recover so they can be brought back to the team, and then we will make some decisions. Let's see how long the veterans are out. (Carla) Overbeck was with us for most of the year. Michelle (Akers) is the more difficult one. She has had a career sitting out for months and then able to come back out with great confidence."
Julie Foudy, U.S. Women's National Team midfielder
On how life has changed since the Women's World Cup victory: "Women's World Cup has had a great effect on us whenever we travel. Coming into Hershey (Penn.) yesterday there were 15 cameras and a squadron of reporters and fans, which is great to see. I get a lot of free meals now... a lot of free donuts, which is a bonus. We joke all the time about A.C. and B.C., after the Cup and before the Cup, and the way people treat you. We always knew World Cup was going to be a great success, but I'm always amazed that we reached such a broad range of people. The soccer community has always been passionate supporters of this team, but it's been neat to see the impact, not only on the soccer world."
On the importance of the Gold Cup: "The Gold Cup is fantastic because it gives us a chance to play other teams from our region on the women's side of the game. On top of that, you have a five-game rhythm, like the Olympics, which is beneficial for us. It's a great opportunity to emulate what we'll face in the Olympics."
On the importance of experience in tournaments: "Obviously a lot of us have been in a situation before where you think you're out and all of a sudden the tide turns like it did in Australia. It helps that this team in never willing to say 'OK, that's it, we lost to China, the tournament is over'. We have to go into each game trying to score goals, because we could always get through on goal differential, and that's what happened in Australia in the Pacific Cup."
On sustaining momentum created for women's soccer by the Women's World Cup: "Especially with this being an Olympic year, and coming off the success of last year, we see this as a great opportunity to show what we can do. Hopefully, with the league starting, Women's soccer will be on the map forever."
On head coach April Heinrichs: "We always knew April would eventually be the Women's National Team coach. It was only a question of when. A few of us had played with her, so we knew the qualities she brings. The wonderful thing she brought as a player, her competitiveness and her passion, we've seen in her coaching as well, so we were ecstatic when she was named coach."
On the Women's Team's role as crusaders for the sport in America: "I think the men's team does that as well. Any opportunity we get to promote the sport on both the men's side and the women's side we look to as an advantage. But it is definitely done on both the men's and women's side."
On the team's opponents in the Olympics: "I really like our group. At the draw there were a lot of Ohh's and Ahh's. When you get to the Olympic level, where there are only eight teams, there's no easy draw. Our mentality is that you have to get through every team to be a champion."
On facing Brazil in the Gold Cup: "It is very similar to last years team. They are a very technical team, very similar to their men's team. They are very athletic very skillful. We always enjoy playing them, they play with great finesse and are a very good team."