San Diego Wave F.C. hosted a preseason mixed media session on Friday in which multiple outlets spoke with head coach Casey Stone as well as players Jodie Taylor and Tegan McGrady.
“We saw some rain this week… so that definitely felt a little more like England,” Stone said. “Positively, we have been progressing really good well. Players are working extremely hard. I can’t express enough how coachable and how positive they are and what a great environment they create for themselves and for the team.”
Stone highlighted that they are still trying to build that team cohesiveness and togetherness that will help them adapt to the soccer philosophy that they want to play. She noted that the team is in a better position compared to last week, but they are still striving for more progress.
“I think we are in a good space. We know that there is a lot of work to do.” She said. “Building that cohesion and togetherness is something that we are going to have to keep doing.”
When asked how the rain impacted her training this week, she immediately expressed her feelings about the driving in the rain situation in San Diego.
“I learned that people can’t drive over here in the rain. I had a bonus. I could drive for once on the roads because it’s crazy over here,” she said. “Listen, they aren’t used to the rain here, but the players have come from very different climates. So being in San Diego, some of them are happy to adjust because they come from much colder climates in preseason, so it (rain) just enabled us to move the ball faster in training that day.”
Stone said that one of the challenges she has had to face with the players is getting them out of their traditional way of coaching in the United States, which is targeted towards a command style.
”They have had a lot of challenges in their youth environments where they have such a fear of making mistakes because they get berated over little, and that’s just not who I am as a coach,” she said. “I am a massive believer in where you make mistakes is where you learn, and you grow. So we need to create an environment where you don’t fear of making mistakes.”
It appears that the team is all on the same page as coach Stone. Players Jodie Taylor and Tegan McGrady confirmed in their interviews during the press conference.
“It’s been a very unique and positive experience, and I think the group has settled in well now, and honestly, it’s such a nice vibe and positive energy. It’s been a really positive start,” Taylor said.
“To see how well we have really started to gel and really get along with one another just makes me really excited for the next couple of weeks,” McGrady said.
These two players are an example of what Wave F.C. is looking to build. Players like Taylor have extensive experience playing against top clubs in England and Europe as well internationally.
On the other hand, Wave has players like McGrady that have some good experience but are still very young and have the potential to reach higher levels of football.
“Casey made it very clear that we aren’t just here to play, we are here to win. That in itself has helped bring competitiveness from the beginning right away,” McGrady said. “It helped us to realize that we are not just an expansion team. We are a team that wants to make, you know, big waves in our first season.”
The two players laughed together as McGrady finished her response to how competitive the team is.
The question will be answered more thoroughly as they continue to prepare for their first match against Angel City on March 19.