Head Coach Jim Thomas
April 23, 2013
BOISE, Idaho - Spring signifies a time of change and growth, especially in the City of Trees where sunshine and warm weather brightens the landscape and brings the Greenbelt to life. Boise State first-year head soccer coach, Jim Thomas, will be taking this in for the first time but the change and growth he is most concerned about is on the field.
After spending the winter training session working primarily on individual skills and playing in small groups, the team took the field in full competition against Washington State, Idaho State, NNU and College of Idaho this spring. It was there that Thomas started to see the training pay off.
"The athleticism is really starting to pop," Thomas said. "I think when you first come in with a new coach there is a certain amount of trepidation and nervousness there and maybe they hold back and don't show you their best percentage of stuff. For sure the last two to three weeks we have started see some things out of these players that we haven't seen yet."
With a new coach comes change in formation, tactics and player roles, which means an added emphasis on laying groundwork for players moving to different areas of the field.
"We have some players at converted positions so we had to get detail-oriented with that stuff and I think it's bedding in very well now," said Thomas.
These changes are most evident in the Bronco defense where three players moved back to assume a majority of minutes during the spring season, joining Mikhaila Bowden who helped anchor the back line over the past two years. Shannon Schueren, who played in the central midfield in each of her first two seasons has moved back to central defender while converted-forward KT Clayton and converted-midfielder Gabby Garcia moved to outside backs.
Although some familiar faces will be in new places, Thomas says he has been able to see the team's identity begin to emerge.
"I think we are going to be young but we are going to be really athletic which I'm excited about," Thomas said. "The forward line is phenomenal to watch, it's a little distracting at times when they really kick it up into high gear. Some of things they are capable of doing is really fantastic."
Among the young players Thomas looks forward to develop are midfielder Brooke Heidemann and forward Anna Popma, both of whom Thomas mentioned to have a standout spring season. Heidemann will be no secret among conference opponents this fall as she was named Mountain West Freshman of the Year last season, but she will be coming at teams from new angle, moving from an outside midfielder to a central attacking position.
Training will come full circle heading into summer as the team will shift focus to where they started the winter session - conditioning.
"They have done a good job of establishing a foundation over the last four months," Thomas said. "For sure it was a point of emphasis for us when we got onto the team in an initial week of testing. What we want to do is really try and access that higher level of fitness."