Ciara Crinion is midway through her first season with the women’s soccer program and she has the experience to know who to rely on and who to trust to have her program flow fluently.
After serving multiple years as an assistant at the University of Hartford, Crinion understands the ins and outs of what Division I soccer brings throughout the year, even in a completely new setting.
“We are two completely different programs in different places,” Crinion said. “The biggest thing when I was at Hartford was, I looked over my own professional development as well through soccer education and staying current, doing my licensing. For me, as a coach, I progressed a lot when I was there. I got my Master’s in soccer coaching, I did my C license, my B license, my A license.
“I think professional development when I was there and invest in my future. Doing that, I think that is one of the biggest things that has helped me because the programs are in different places but the experiences I had there on a daily basis are always going to help with the future and shape you as a coach as well.”
Fortifying her passion and understanding of soccer, Crinion learned how to mold herself into the motivator and coach she is with Seton Hall. Yet, not everything can be done herself, and because the upperclassmen players have been with the program longer than her, she expects leadership and attention to detail on the pitch. Crinion provides leadership with trust, and her players return it with their performances.
“We always say to them as well, in practice as a coach, you control 95% of what goes on,” Crinion said. “But on gameday, it is the players who own that 95%. The biggest thing is that our players understand and are comfortable in their role and responsibility, and they feel confident enough to do that. I think regardless of who you coach and where you coach, I think empowering players and educating players, making them feel like they understand what to do, and the how behind of what the expectation is, is constant, no matter what type of player or coach you work with. It comes back to your philosophy as a coach of how you want to progress players but also give them their role and their development so they can understand the game.”
The discussions with players off the pitch have also provided how the season outlook will be formed. The players display their leadership by collaborating with the coaches to solidify the team environment Cirnion has set out to have for the program.
“The expectation for this season is to grow on a daily basis,” Crinon said. “We have not laid down a goal or an expectation. For us, it is for a daily improvement. It is a process, we understand that and when we talk to the players, we talk about taking opportunities on a daily basis, in the classroom, in rehab with their recovery, no matter what they are doing, how can we progress and how can we be better.
“It is process driven and every game we will reflect and then look at the next game,” she said. “We are not looking too far ahead, we are looking at a weekly basis, who is our next opponent, how we feel ready. And then when we play that opponent, we will look at how we did, what was good, what needs improvement, and then we are literally focused on the next game, and we will focus on every game that is right in front of us until we get to the end of the season. At that point, we will be able to take a step away, look back and look at how far we got as a team and how we have progressed.”
Robert Fallo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter @robert_fallo.