Off the Pitch with Men's Soccer Coach Ray Reid: Oct. 31, 2007



    I cannot believe it is the last week of the regular season! It is unreal how fast this has gone by. It seems like it was just yesterday when we started pre-season (Aug. 15). The past eight weeks have flown by.

    Our last regular season match will be this Saturday, November 3 at Seton Hall. Coach Manfred Schellsheidt is the senior coach in the league and has done a great job over his career at Seton Hall. The kickoff will be at 1:00PM.

    As the regular season winds down, I wanted to acknowledge the people "behind the scenes" who help make our program run and never really receive the credit they deserve for it.

    Maria Murray is our Program Aide and she is exceptional. She keeps me and our office together and is very efficient and organized. She really does a great job of making the office go and is our "MVP". We would be lost without her. She is a tremendous people person and is great at working with our players. Although she is young, she is like a second mom to these young men. Her compassion and warmth go a long way with our players.

    Alissa Clendenen is our Sports Information Director. I can say, after working with her for three years she is one of the top soccer SID's in the country. She is passionate about what she does, her work speaks for itself and she does a great job of getting the "UConn Soccer" message out there. She is outstanding with computers and designs and creates great pieces for us. She has a great mind for ideas to promote our program.

    Stephanie Milazzo is our Athletic Trainer and really works hard at her job. In a program like ours, where we have some international players who are not used to trainers, it can be a challenge. Also working with a coach who wants players to be ready to train everyday can be very difficult. She has a great way with our players and does a great job of getting our student-athletes back on the field. We are very lucky to have her.

    The person who holds our medical group together is Dr. Tom Trojian. "Doc T" is an outstanding sports doctor who really is critical to our program. He understands our players and makes the soccer student-athletes a priority. He is very approachable. He provides our team with expert medical advice and is one of the leading sports physicians around. He has a great way about him with our players and I always hear from them how he is one of their favorites. We are fortunate that he is the doctor working with our team. I have a great respect for his opinion and trust him with our players. He is the perfect "professional" for our team.

    Becky Taylor is our Academic Counselor and works in the Counseling Program for Intercollegiate Athletes. She is a great asset and contributor to our program. She works very hard with our student-athletes to assist them in their quest for academic excellence. She is a counselor, disciplinarian and mother, all in one. She helps our student-athletes reach their potential in the classroom and in the community. To put it simply "SHE CARES". We have been spoiled with her on our team since she first walked in the door in 2002.

    Finally, a guy who gets no credit and really deserves a lot is our Strength and Conditioning Coach, Chris West. He is not your typical weight lifting guy but he understands the athlete of today. He combines speed and power with quickness and agility. We use heart monitors with every player in our program every day. This cutting edge technology allows us to monitor how much our players exert, how fatigued the are and what we can demand and expect in training. There is no other men's college soccer team using this technology and we get the benefit of it because of Coach West. He has made an unbelievable difference in the conditioning and performance of our soccer athletes and provides us with a tremendous competitive edge. His knowledge, passion and loyalty are a big part of our program's success.

    I must mention once again that Julius James has been selected as one of 10 finalists for the inaugural Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Each finalist was selected based on his contributions on the field, as well as in the classroom and community. In addition to being a two-time All-American and Hermann Trophy candidate, he is highly involved in the Husky Sport program and will graduate in 3.5 years with a degree in resource economics and a minor in geography.

    Finalists were selected from a list of 20 candidates in each division, based on personal qualities that define a complete student-athlete. While the on-field performance thus far during the college soccer season was a factor in determining the finalists, the criteria also includes a large emphasis on the classroom, character and community service.

    The 10 finalists are on a ballot that is open to public voting until Wednesday, Nov. 21. Fan balloting, available on the award’s official Web site, will be combined with votes from coaches, media and sponsors to determine the recipient of the award that will be given out during the College Cup weekend, Dec. 14-16.

    Please vote here: