Fair Game For Home Fans To Discuss D-III Teams?

As many of you are aware, I am part of the web-casting crew for Stevens Athletics on Empire8.tv. As a broadcaster, I have always felt that I can be as critical as appropriately necessary of a team (Stevens or otherwise) irrespective of the fact that I am hired by the Stevens Athletics Department. I think it is fair to say that my bosses have been more than fair regarding broadcasting practices that we do our best to provide as unbiased of a portrayal of a game as humanly possible. I think that accepting constructive criticisms is a part of growing up that allows programs to develop more thoroughly than just positive reinforcements of things they are doing correctly.

However, I have been thinking recently in conjunction with a friend of mine to start a discussion blog solely dedicated to talking about a given sport like soccer for which I am a big fan of and something that definitely has the most intense fan base on campus. This is a team that is less than 8 months removed from going to the National Championship game and has just released a very ambitious schedule of the 2009 regular season.

The moment the idea came to fruition, I had a feeling there might be some conflicting but legitimate issues that might arise. I don’t think any of the following issues are deal breakers in me trying to accomplish what I want to in the short run but could be more problematic in sustaining long term. I think the only reason this issue arises is because D-III is not nationally known as much as the D-I programs, so anything available is generally more than what’s out there for an average team.

In this age of technology, the first arising problem is how much information is too much information? You can be rest assured that all of these coaches, even at the Division III level, do their homework regarding scouting opposition teams, their players and tactics. As much as I would like to think my analysis of a given situation is accurate, I don’t think any coach or opposition is going to relying on the latest posts by a couple of college students and adjust their game plans accordingly.

There is no argument that such a forum gives perspective from the home side and probably something you generally don’t see highlighted very often but is discussing such a matter detrimental in any way to the progress and success of the team you root for? Is it that horrible of a thing to point out recent struggles in a rather specific manner or talking about formations or plays that have been more successful?

I really don’t expect this to be much of an issue but there was a minor incident at another school discussing in an open forum regarding upcoming schedules and issues with the team over the course of the season. The issue seems to be whether or not certain information should be copied over from a blog and posted on to a more popular source where the likelihood of it being read by an opposition greatly increases. I am going to stand by my stance that once it’s posted for the public to see, the original author has no claim or right towards where it gets published as long as it done so with proper accreditation.

Anyways, let me be clear that I feel fans as well as anyone else should be able to discuss what they want about any team they want. That also includes you readers who should feel free to let me know what you think of discussing especially about school sports programs and whether you think it hurts teams or not hearing from people closer to the program than maybe the average fan.

Also, stay tuned for an announcement regarding the start of the discussion blog regarding a Stevens sport coming towards you in approximately couple of weeks.

Three Different Views Of Soccer

So I have been fortunate enough to play varsity soccer, broadcast pretty high level collegiate soccer games and now began my first stint as an assistant coach for my high school soccer team. It is truly remarkable the different perspectives you gain from each part of the game.

First when I played soccer as a goalkeeper in  high school for two years is like a position comparable to being a catcher in baseball in terms of thinking in the game. I think while your team has the ball and is progressing up the field, you get to see who is making cuts or runs, who is playing man or zone defense, and who is trying to stretch the defense or push that offsides line. You also tend to have plenty of time from game to game where you are not constantly running around and it gives time to think about what you did right or wrong the previous play and what to adjust the next time around. It also gives you time to talk to your defensive line about small adjustments on rotations or just simply communication.

Probably my proudest moments from my years of playing are being on the team’s first two years and having gone to post-season play both years although we did not advance but being able to do that in a school that had 150 students going up against bigger schools and being successful. Also just a personal stat of saving 5 or 6 penalty kicks over the two years without allowing a goal is something I can say was pretty impressive.

At Stevens (and on Empire8.tv), I have been fortunate enough to broadcast collegiate games including soccer for three years now and clearly there are tons of things you learn in that period of time. The biggest change I noticed when broadcasting is you get to see the entire field and a broader view on the formations on both sides. You can clearly see if the outside backs are making runs on the outside flanks or whether a defense is successfully able to clamp down in the middle to close any passing windows. Obviously being able to see all 22 people on the field in one view helps you analyze plays and even see plays as they develop regarding who is making a run or who just happens to slip in behind the defense.

Now as for coaching, I have only done this for a couple of weeks now but it is truly unlike any of the other two. It certainly brings back the desire to play while teaching you to not only focus on one issue. You have to have the ability to watch several players and see whether they are in their right positions or are making the right reads. If they see a defender pinch in, the midfielder should have the knowledge to stretch to the sideline and give his/her teammate the option to play the through ball or even drop one over the defense’s head.

The biggest challenge so far regarding coaching I would say is watching a team do exactly as they are supposed to in practice and do it routinely without a problem but have tendencies to not execute the very same things when they step between the lines during a game against an opposition they haven’t seen this season. I remember a couple of rough starts when I first started and they tend to go by the way side as you gain more experience and you grow more comfortable as a team together. These are the things you see develop in a young team over the course of practices and games and certainly you hope that you can help them out.

Free Stevens Athletics Broadcast

This year, Stevens Athletics in conjunction with Empire8.tv and Penn Atlantic will be broadcasting several sporting events all season long free of charge to all viewers. The sports this fall that will be broadcast include the following: Basketball and Soccer for both Men and Women as well as Women’s Volleyball and Field Hockey. Sports the following spring should include Lacrosse for both Men and Women as well as Men’s Volleyball. This year, an audio broadcast will also be provided for Stevens’ baseball games.

Stevens kicked off their athletic season this past weekend hosting the Stevens College Cup where they defeated #8 Redlands Bulldogs and Fairleigh Dickinson University – Florham Devils to go 2-0 on the weekend. The field hockey team had just as impressive of a showing going 2-0 themselves after defeating Haverford College on Saturday and No. 14 Juniata College on Sunday in an incredible double-overtime game.

Tune in to another exciting season of Empire 8 Athletic Conference sports, streamed live to you in the comfort of your home or office. Get never before access to home games all season long, and keep up with your favorite teams and players. Empire8.tv is where you get the best seat in the house, no matter where you are.

Once again if you want to watch any of the games, here is the link: Empire8.tv. The games are only broadcast live and you cannot watch a rebroadcast online. Repeats will be played on campus through the SIT TV.