In case you haven't been on your phone, or turned on a television in the past couple of weeks; the Women's World Cup is going on; and hey, the USWNT are pretty amazing. Tonight, they face one of their archrivals--because when you're that good, you gain a lot of enemies--in China. The Chinese National team isn't necessarily a big obstacle for the team, but the winner will play the winner of France-Germany, and that will be more of a challenge.
In honor of that, and in honor of TCU women's soccer, we are lucky enough to welcome Coach Eric Bell to the FoW Q&A. For those of you who don't know, Bell came to TCU after cutting his teeth at Florida State, and making a big name for himself as one of the country's best recruiters. In true TCU fashion, Bell's influence was immediately seen from a defensive standpoint. Bell's squad has been on a steady incline since his arrival, and shortly thereafter, nearly winning the Big 12 Tournament in 2012; and after his best season yet in 2014, hopes are as high as they've ever been for the club.
As someone who lived in 3 different locations, all a half-mile away from TCU's lovely soccer stadium, I make a plea: Go to these games. I don't have to show everyone the charts of growing soccer trends in the United States, we all know this sport is growing. Especially if you live in the Greek, go support these women.
The women's World Cup is in what's essentially "the Elite 8". How are you feeling about the match-up with China?
I think that we should be fine for the China game. Even with the loss of Holiday and Rapinoe, we have enough depth to be able to overcome the loss of those two players due to yellow card accumulation.
Their defense has been superb, arguably better than it was in 2011. The offense, however, is a mess. As a coach, why is that? Is it the formation? Are they not using some of players in ways they should be? Or is it just a lack of preparation?
As a coach you look for trends. The trend that I see most often is that we just don't look like we are all on the same page when we are attacking. This could be due to the formation, the players playing in the "right" positions or a host of other reasons.
Is it a coaching problem? Are they missing Pia Sundhage that much?
I don't know if it is a lack of coaching. The staff assembled is a good staff. Something seems a bit "off" with the team. I have not quite put my finger on it.
Aside from Megan Rapinoe, who's been the standout for the USWNT thus far?
A lot of people have acknowledged the job done by Julie Johnston and what she has done in the back line for the US. I think that she has done a solid job in the back line. If I had to pick a player as being a standout besides Megan Rapinoe, I don't know if I could do it. I don't think that anyone has played at a high level consistently for the US in the tournament thus far other than Rapinoe.
Can the women win the World Cup after falling just short four years ago?
We are talented enough to win the World Cup. Will we? Well that is a different ball of wax.
Real quick; you're an Arsenal fan, I'm an Arsenal fan. Do you think Arsenal finally gets out of third place and makes a legit run for the title in Alexis' second year as one of the most exciting players in the Premier League?
With the signing of Petr Cech we have solidified the goalkeeping position. I will be curious to see if we sign a defensive center mid with the emergence of Francis Conquelin. He has displaced the aging Mikel Arteta. I think we also need a top end forward to take a bit of the goal scoring pressure off of Giroud. There have been rumors of signing Karim Benzema. I think he would be a great option. Overall I really like our team. However, the biggest gripe I have is the overall physical size of the team. We trot out guys 5'7 or 5'8 against teams that field guys ranging in height from 6'0 to 6'4. I think we have a really good chance to win it all if we stay healthy and remain consistent as we have shown the ability to do since January.
Say the USWNT wins the Cup, any chance that would carry some hype over to Fort Worth? The stadium is so nice, and sits just behind the Greek area, so you'd think kids in college could spare a few hours...
I'd love to have more student support at our games. We hope that the product we put on the field will inspire more students to want to come out and support our team.
What can we expect from the TCU women's team this year?
You can expect a more athletic and hungry team this fall. Our players want to show everyone how hard they have worked in the spring and summer. Staying healthy will be the key. If we stay healthy, I like our chances to have a successful season.
What are the most important games in the Big 12 this year? Who's the favorite? How do the Frogs compete with them?
With only nine teams in the league, all the conference games are important. We look forward to playing everyone in the Big 12.
What's the biggest home game of the season?
We want everyone to come out to our games. They are all very big games. We open up at home on September 4th against Maryland at 7pm.
Finally: How can the Frogs win the Big 12?
We must take it one game at a time and prepare diligently for each opponent. If we do, we will give ourselves a chance.