Sept. 17, 2012
Watch Trask's Press Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin men's soccer coach John Trask spoke to the media on Monday at the weekly press conference held at Camp Randall Stadium
Archived video of the media session is available through the link above, and a complete transcript of Trask's remarks can be found below.
John Trask: Nice to be back home. Played quite a few games on the road to start our season, trying to make sure we're not missing class with our kids.
We had our opening weekend at home last weekend, didn't go according to plan, even though we had an excellent result against Georgetown, I believe they're No. 13 in the country.
Came back with winning a tie this week in Chicago as part of the UIC Soccer Classic. And looking for the start of Big Ten Penn State this weekend, should be a great game, and be nice to be home have a doubleheader with the women's program as well.
Question 1: John, how has the nonconference season prepared you for the conference season?
Trask: I think it's always a big part of it in any sport. Getting ready for the Big Ten, it's a grind. Three games home. Three games away. All the teams are very good.
We've matured some of our freshmen. We've got couple of very good freshmen. Nice to get them acclimated to what the Big Ten schedule is going to look like.
And we're trying every year to make a more competitive schedule. Top players that we're going after, want to be in a competitive environment, and having the likes of Georgetown here going out to Portland and playing the University of Washington and Portland. Those are true tests to get you ready.
I know some coaches maybe don't believe in testing your team during the nonconference season. I think good players want to play against good teams and good programs want to see how they stack up against the best in the country, and every year we've been getting a little bit better in terms of our scheduling.
Question 2: Whatever questions you may have had, you feel sufficiently have been answered to this point?
Trask: Yes. One nice thing about this year's team we believe we've got greater depth in a number of different positions. And there's a great battle going on within the team, and it will be happening again this afternoon in training. We're starting to find out a little bit more about these kids, who we can trust and the tough games and Penn State obviously will be a tough game on Friday.
But, yeah, we feel like we're further along than we were a year ago. Even though maybe our record doesn't indicate it. But I feel pretty good. We've had three basic shutouts in a row, gave up one penalty kick to Georgetown. We're starting to get back to some of those habits of good defending, solid defending, not giving up, getting shutouts not giving up goals and then giving ourselves a chance to win in every game.
Question 3: Have you put a complete game together yet? If not, are you close to doing that?
Trask: That's the challenge we put to the team Saturday after our performance Friday night. We had some good moments against Western Illinois and going into the IUPY game, maybe not the toughest opponent, it was more about ourselves.
And other than having a red card with about 30 minutes left in the game, and that happened sometimes in soccer, we played shutout ball again. We gave them basically no scoring opportunities.
We looked sharp offensively, that first 60 minutes. And I think it would have carried over for 90, when you lose a player in soccer, it makes it a little bit more difficult. And I'll say this, the guys played very well down a man and kept that shutout. And actually we're unfortunate we hit the post and probably could have had a third or fourth goal being down a man. There were a lot of positives from Sunday and something we can build on going into this week.
Question 4: The freshman, tell about your goalkeeper Chase Rau and how he's played so far this year.
Trask: Nice addition. We've got good competition in goal. Probably the first year we've had that. This is my third year on the job. And you know Chase is a very confident young goalkeeper, has been performing well.
We have a lot of confidence in Max Jentsch, our junior goalkeeper, who has played a lot of minutes over the past couple of years. And a good goalkeeping, like in hockey or any soccer team is crucial to the team's success.
And in these three games I think Chase has made a big save in every game. And we need that. We're not the type that doesn't need a big save here and there. So complement to Chase he's kind of won the battle for now. I don't think we really have a goalkeeper controversy. He's the one in the nets but we feel comfortable with Max as well.
Question 5: And have to ask, too, being at home this week your Big Ten opener, are you building that home field advantage that you'd like to have here at Wisconsin?
Trask: That's something we spoke to the team at the end of the season last year, that's where we fell short. Our performance at home. We adjusted some things in terms of leading up to the game. I think more than anything it's a psychological. Top programs in any sport find a way to win at home. And it's always tough to win on the road. Our road wins have been excellent the last couple of years.
Our performance at home has not been. So we need to make it a bastion. We need to make it our castle. It's been nice. We have a lot more students coming out. We have another new supporter group. This weekend is our legacy reunion for alums. Close to 50 guys coming back. And we're going to be part of Badgerville Saturday morning for the football game.
So it's exciting for us. And that's important as well. Home field advantage is about having the 12th man. And our game against FIU, they were there. We didn't turn that team over, which we should have. But it's nice to play at home when you've got your family, friends and students supporting you.