Q&A With Women's Soccer Assistant Adrian Blewitt
What attracted you to UNCG?
Each time I brought a team to play a spring game at UNCG or came to watch an all-star game I was 'wowed' by the stadium and the surrounding campus. The proud soccer traditions and its history is known throughout the region and to have the chance to be a part of that was extremely intriguing and appealing to me. I believe I can play an important role in Coach Nugent's plans for the program.
What do you hope to bring to UNCG women's soccer and what is your greatest asset?
I hope to be able to bring the highest potential out of our student-athletes. When playing teams with more talent and depth than my own, many times, we were able to train and prepare our student-athletes in such a way to win big games. I would say my attention to detail, scouting, and having players buy into our goals would be some keys things I can help with at UNCG.
Having been a previous Head Coach at Lenoir-Rhyne, what is the biggest transition from Division II to Division I collegiate soccer? So far, some of the biggest differences I have seen between DII and D1 is the amount of staff who are available to work with the student-athletes. The academic staff, strength and conditioning coaches, sports nutritionist, media relations, and equipment staff, separate the levels of professionalism and convenience in comparison to many smaller colleges. At UNCG, there are experts in many areas and coaches can spend most of their time coaching!
Have you always wanted to go into coaching after your playing career?
I was always fairly certain that if I wasn't going to make it as a professional player, I wanted to teach and coach. I have had some wonderful role models during my playing days in England and the U.S. and I was given my chance to become the assistant coach at my alma mater, Lock Haven University after completing my playing career in 1994.
How has the game of soccer changed since your playing career?
I think the game has changed in a number of ways over the last 20 years. Tactically, the game has evolved with more emphasis on defensive tactics and the selection of formations and systems of play to promote this. Many European teams have transitioned their coaching techniques to more of the South American possession style of play with Spain and Barcelona the purist examples of this. Athletically, players are faster and stronger and have more availability to athletic experts to tailor their individual requirements. The days have long gone when in order to 'bulk up', we were advised to eat steak and eggs. Equipment has changed dramatically! Technology has enabled balls to move in the air at an incredible rate and now, with unpredictability for keepers. Boots are lighter, studs aren't quite what they used to be, some boots have fins, and choose your own color! Whatever happened to the old leather ball that would become so heavy when soaked on a rainy day? or stuffing books down your socks to use as shin guards, and wearing the same $50 black shoes for 3-4 seasons! Times have definitely changed!
Who have been your biggest role models in soccer?
Within the game I've been fortunate enough to have some coaches who have had big influences on my playing and coaching career. One of the biggest reasons I began playing, and then gained the appetite to be teach to the game was because of my youth coach, Geoff Bartholomew. He has had a huge impact on many youth players back home in Lincolnshire and Humberside and is responsible for many players careers in the professional game and those who made it across the pond. While a college player at Lock Haven University I was very lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life. I had two tremendous people as coaches, Lenny Long and Phil Stephenson who still to this day I admire greatly. Outside of soccer, my parents, Mike and Wendy let their only child leave home at 18 years old to follow his dreams! Need I say more! I have incredible support from my wife Tamara and daughter, JoElle who allow the 'highs' of coaching to not go to my head and the 'lows' of coaching to not get too low!
What is the biggest thing you learned since being on campus at UNCG?
In my two weeks at UNCG I have learned that there are many ways to do many tasks and then there is the 'Spartan Way' of accomplishing them!