By Jonathan Boldt
Assistant Sports Editor
For some, a vision is sitting atop a lofty perch, overlooking the world and seeing things that you couldn’t otherwise. For others it is putting on a pair of glasses or contacts first thing in the morning to achieve the same effect.
Vision in sports has varying meanings as well. For athletes it can mean seeing an open receiver in the end zone or a pass that can thread the needle for an easy dunk.
For a coach, vision takes on a whole new meaning. For women’s soccer coach Brent Anderson, it means seeing both the fortes and flaws of his team.
Anderson, always calm and collected, can be heard talking to himself throughout a match. Even when things go wrong, the most that can be heard from him is a frustrated “shoot”!
In a father-like way, he’s not mad. Just disappointed.
When asked if it’s hard to see things in his mind’s eye and not have it translate on the pitch, he smiled, scratched his slightly tilted head, and paused.
“Yeah, it’s tough ’cause they can’t see inside my head,” Anderson said with a slight chuckle. “We are a young team though. It’ll come as they get more game experience.”
The antidote for a young team’s ills is often someone with the ability to look down on the situation with the seasoning and experience to see around the corner. (Example: Young teams often need such foresight to overcome the flaws of inexperience.)In the case of the Wolverines, that would be someone to seeing the passing and scoring lanes develop as they sprint down the field, as well as what dangers that lie ahead as the opposition mounts an attack.
Anderson’s vision is multifaceted. He sees the team’s potential, and he sees the field with a birds-eye view. Combining the two will be integral to the short term and long term welfare of the program.
“Coach is great. He can always see where we need to be and position us to do well,” keeper Lauren Sack said. “He has always helped me to develop more than just athletically. He helps me to have a better mentality.”
That mentality has paid immediate dividends for Sack, the returning conference player of the year, and brings some much needed experience to the Wolverines.
This season has been a tough measuring stick so far. After an exhibition win against Westminster and a season opening win against Portland State, the Wolverines have dropped three in a row, losing to Weber State, Wyoming, and Miami.
Things don’t get any easier with matches at Utah, Idaho, and Montana before taking on Fordham and Baylor. Being competitive and winning will hinge on the players growing up and catching Anderson’s vision.
Jonathan Boldt can be reached at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jboldt24