Laying the foundation
BY STEPHEN HERZOG
July 31, 2010 at 2:31 a.m.
Normally, summer is a time to relax.
But for the University of Houston-Victoria's new soccer coach, Adrian Rigby, things have moved pretty quickly.
"Usually you're bringing in 8-12 kids tops in a recruiting year," he said. "We've brought in close to 60 players in just five months."
Rigby has taken on the task of building the men's and women's soccer programs at UHV.
He said they had three good tryouts and a lot of input from coaches around the region who he's known through connections with collegiate soccer the past eight years.
When he first came to Victoria, he said the South Texas region had a lot of untapped talent.
He's gone about building this team by bringing in players locally, regionally, and internationally.
While the official roster has not yet been released - Rigby said he's got a handful of kids from the immediate area, including recent grads Courtney Day from Memorial and Stacie Garcia from St. Joseph.
He also has six or seven from the Corpus Christi area, and more from the Dallas and Houston areas.
And one, Ryan Hastie, from England.
International recruiting is helped by the fact that Rigby, who's from Canada, was also an international student in college.
"I told (Hastie) what a great experience I had, and what a great opportunity it was for continuing education," Rigby said.
While Hastie is the only international recruit this season, Rigby said he expects the channels to England, Scotland, Ireland and Canada to be open for future recruits.
And the benefit to recruting internationally is not limited just to on-the-field benefits.
"It's great for the classroom," Rigby said. "You get a good mix with different views and ideas."
As for the on-field product, the community will soon see what the Jaguars have, as the 30-plus men and 25-plus women take the field the second week of August for practice.
The early work will be grueling, with two-a-day practices in the August heat, but it will be necessary with the schedule UHV has lined up.
"The schedule is set up to be challenging," Rigby said. "We want to be successful right off the bat."
He said while the goal is to win every game, success won't necessarily be measured just by a number of wins in the first year.
"You want to see consistent improvement," he said. "And you want to give yourself a chance at postseason play."
Reaching those goals should be a possibility for both teams, if the recruits are as strong as Rigby believes.
He said he worked to get players that fit the system, which will be defensively organized, but should play an attacking style.
"Sometimes the best players aren't necessarily the most talented, but the players that work the hardest."