Sunday, August 24, 2008

New Season and Thoughts on Track Team

The Men's soccer team kicked off the season this week with two exhibitions - the first with George Mason and the second with VCU. Charlie Campbell scored two goals off assists from Ghanian frosh Phil Aseweh in the GMU game. The VCU game was a draw but probably a better result. VCU usually fields a strong team with a significant mature foreign contingent. To earn a draw is a better result at this point of the season than the GMU win. I watched a talented VCU team dismantle an experienced Hokie Team last year 4-0 and the season turned out ok. Oliver always tries to test the team early with a good out of conference schedule. This allows him to fine tune and toughen the players for ACC play. With a significant influx of new talent this year I expect the same. We will probably lose some games we should win early but will factor in the ACC although winning outright is unlikely. A good season will entail a NCAA appearance and a great season will include a bye or a win in the NCAAs. The freshman class includes the three from Ghana, two from Germany, two local Blacksburg kids (who Oliver coached), a Floridian, a Californian and a Virginian (Richmond). Given the success of the foreign players Oliver has had the foreigners are probably the ones to watch this year. Also Luiz Yamashita from Miami is worth watching because he was on at least one first team All American list.

On the Track side there has been some discussion on about Queen Harrison turning pro after her Olympics debut and the departure of her great coach (now head coach of Clemson). I think it is unlikely. First she did not win or finish particularly high. Second her event (400m hurdles) is not a glamor event like the 100M, 200M, 100M hurdles, marathon, 1500M. A top performer in those areas can make a 7 figure annual income with endorsements, sponsorships and prizes. I think the loss of Coach Johnson is significant. He was clearly one of the best sprint coaches in the country but Coach Cianelli has a top program to offer and a cupboard full of athletes. A good new coach will be on the way, of that I am confident.

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