Coach Blaine Callahan has been with the UC Clermont women’s soccer program from the start, three seasons ago. He spent a total of nineteen seasons as a high level soccer coach, and previously led the UC Men’s Club team to the Final Fours of the National tournament.His philosophy on coaching soccer can be explained as being mostly defensive-minded. He puts a great deal of emphasis on not giving up any goals and building every game from the back to the front. By this, he means starting with a strong defense and slowly building up the score while completely shutting the other team out.
His roster consists of twenty-two players, all of whom he recruited. One quality he looks for in the players he recruits is that they show the same passion he has for the game. This is a requirement of his from day one. Their physical abilities also have to be able to meet and keep up with the expectations of a college-level program.
The greatest obstacle Coach Callahan is currently facing is player injuries, since he recently lost a starter to an ACL injury. “It’s always difficult to get over, but that’s the life of college soccer; there’s going to be injuries.”
The expectation for how the first game would turn out was mixed due to how many freshman are starting. For some of these girls, this was the first game they’d played at the college level. Now that they have an idea of what to expect, there should be room for improvement. Every player is still learning to mesh well with the team and see where she fits best. When asked about comparing skill level from game play to that of practice play, Callahan said it differs from player to player. Some girls get put into roles under pressure and are able to be clutch and impress everyone.
A player that recently stuck out (in a positive way) is freshman striker Kat Richey, a “lightning quick girl who we’ve been able to get in on the goal on some occasions this year. She’s still learning the position, but when she does, she’s going to be scary. Everybody we played during the preseason made a comment about her and how difficult she was to deal with.” Another player Coach Callahan mentioned was freshman centerback Maria Hessling from Taylor High School—a surprising and welcome addition to the defense that they weren’t expecting to have. She’s shown strong gameplay and gives a solid performance every time.
Fitness is a one of the team’s main focuses, and happens to be one of their strongest assets. The team conditioned on its own over the summer when they spent a great deal of time together building great team chemistry. “The girls are all friends and they all get along; they hang out together off the field and I think that makes them a stronger unit on the field.”
Coach Callahan said he looks forward to the growth of the program this season the most. Making the program better than it was last year is a primary goal of his. He’s putting tremendous effort into his players and wants to see more success and progression on the field. This year they play more opponents than they previously have, so they’ll get a variety of talent to help build their skills as a team.