Accountability and Non-Negotiables: CSU Soccer’s New Faces Are Ready For 2021
The Colorado State women's soccer team is getting ready to roll into their 2021 season with lots of new faces, including a brand new coaching staff.
After a strange spring schedule due to COVID postponing their 2020 season, CSU soccer has returned two players for their self-labeled "granny season", as well as ten freshmen and a transfer. With so many new players coming into an established program, the focus turns to the coaching staff to assist in the transition. But, the staff itself is just as new.
Normally, that would be a worry. But, based off of senior Sam Studt's confidence and the adjustments the team has already made in just two exhibition games, the new faces seem like they're just what CSU soccer needed.
Head coach Keeley Hagen was brought into the position from the University of Texas where she served her eighth season as an assistant coach. Hagen is also a three-time All-American and a former professional soccer player.
Hagen and her staff bring a drive and standard to the team that Studt says has raised the level of accountability. Studt said "There [are] higher standards in place, and that's a good thing because it will only elevate our program and make us better. And with that comes higher expectations. It's a matter of holding yourself accountable".
And that accountability and culture, Hagen says, really comes directly from the girls themselves.
"Here's what we want it to look like on the field, now [they] have to take that ownership and put it into place," Hagen said. "We're going to hold them accountable as a staff, but they've defined a lot of things off the field that are going to help them on the field".
Hagen and the rest of the coaching staff have talked with the team a lot about non-negotiables. The non-negotiables are simple: effort and attitude. And Hagen says, once the girls know the non-negotiables, the culture is really set by the team.
That culture is what is going to carry the team through the coaching staff's debut season. With Mountain West preseason polls placing CSU finishing ninth in the conference, it's been made clear by the team that it's just a number.
Hagen wants the focus to be getting better every day and letting the results take care of themselves. The motivation from the coaching staff is for the players to get better individually so they can get better as a team.
Studt agrees. She says, "I think [it's] just keeping our heads down, keep working, and it's just a number".
First or last, the number is just something to either live up to or disprove. Colorado State women's soccer wants to come in and prove everyone wrong.
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