MARQUETTE, Mich. – Northern Michigan University women's soccer first year head coach Sonia Basma hopes to spend the 2017 season establishing a foundation and building a culture to get the NMU women's soccer program moving forward.
"I want to really build culture," said Basma. "After we establish a foundation we will then be able to move forward to compete with the best of the conference and the NCAA. Our approach is to focus on breaking things down so every player understands what their responsibilities and roles are on the pitch. For us it's about starting with the basics tactically, so these young women understand the fundamentals of the game, while looking to progress to an advanced style of soccer later. The other important focus for us is to create a competitive environment every single day."
The Wildcats will look to continue to be a defensively disciplined team but will look to create more offense using their athleticism and urgency. The Wildcats allowed just 1.52 goal against in the 2016 season but only scored 1.15 goals per game. Of the 22 Wildcat goals scored in 2016 all but six came from players who will return to the team in 2017. "We plan to be disciplined on defense but also to really teach the student-athletes to understand where they need to be positionally," said Basma. "A lot of teams are quite good possessing in the back third and middle third, as we are, but to be a force going forward we have to be creative and push forward in the final third."
During the spring season, Basma was able to begin fine-tuning the technical aspects of the student-athletes skill sets. Basma has identified Abby Cook and Raven Mitchell as strong offensive tools. "Abby is a natural striker who wants to go to goal and has a real urgency to put the ball in the back of the net," Basma said. "Raven is athletically beyond this world, we just need to fine tune her technically and she will be a force for us."
Wildcats at a Glance
2017 Coaches Poll: t6th
2016 overall record: 4-10-4
2016 GLIAC record: 3-4-4 (8th)