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 Steve Swanson

The Wahoo Central Chat Room with Steve Swanson

Virginia women's soccer head coach Steve Swanson chats live Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 12 p.m.

The top-ranked Cavaliers host Notre Dame in a top-10 showdown Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Klöckner Stadium. First place in the ACC is on the line as Virginia and Notre Dame go head-to-head as ACC members for the first time.

Submit your questions now. Questions will not appear until the chat starts. Remember Coach Swanson cannot answer questions regarding the recruitment of prospective student-athletes.

Become a follower of Virginia Women's Soccer on Twitter at @UVaWSoccer.

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Wahoo Central Moderator: Welcome everyone to the Wahoo Central Chat Room with Steve Swanson. Coach has joined us, so we are ready to begin with our first question...

Neal (Richmond, Va.): With the team undefeated, how do you prevent the team from "playing not to lose" rather than "playing to win"?
Steve Swanson: I think that it starts from how we have trained and prepared the team since January. We have specific goals that we are working towards and even though we are more then halfway through the season we have not achieved any of our goals yet. We are still in pursuit of these goals and hopefully that keeps us focused on what we need to do to win games. The other factor is our leadership...we have some very good leaders on this team

Timmy (Charlottesville): In the game versus Maryland, women's soccer set an attendance record with this record expected to be broken again in your game against Notre Dame on Thursday. What effect has the "Klockner Krowd" had on the team's mentality and performance here in Charlottesville?
Steve Swanson: Our crowds at Klockner have always been a big factor in our success at home. We have great fans, knowledgable fans and positive fans. We could not ask for more from our fans and it truly makes a difference in our performance.

Rachel, Charlottesville: What has been the key to the team's success so far this season? Can't wait until Thursday!! Go Hoos!
Steve Swanson: Hard working players-this group has worked extremely hard since the start of our spring training in January Excellent Assistant Coaches-we really have a great staff who care so much about the development of our players Tremendous Chemistry-this group really cares about one thing and one thing only--What is best for the team. Great support-from our department, from our fans, and from the University

Denise (C'ville): Looking forward to attending the game Thursday night! What are the keys to the game vs. the Irish that we should be looking out for from the stands?
Steve Swanson: We need to be ready to play from the start. Notre Dame has an excellent team so we must play consistently throughout the game. We need to be able to move the ball quickly to offset their pressure-they have good athletes and they are organized defensively, and we need to win the set play battle.

Ryan (NOVA): Coach, you have had a lot of great teams at UVA -- but what sets this current one apart? We love watching them play.
Steve Swanson: I think the one aspect that sets this team apart is their commitment to the team and their role. Each player has a specific role and they all try to fulfill that role to the fullest. They also are very committed to one another both on and off the field and I think anyone can see that when they watch this team play.

ARTHUR M KROLL (Keswick): Isn't it a bit unfair that Morgan Brian's call-up for the USWNT Roster for the Australia game will make her unavailable for the North Carolina game? The date coincidence seems unfortunate. Congrats for a wonderful year thus far. Enjoy every minute. Wife and I both season ticket holders and are avid fans.
Steve Swanson: Yes that is something that is unfortunate but we always support our players development and this is an opportunity for Morgan that does not come along too often. She has a a chance to get some playing time in an international game at the full team level. You have to take those opportunities when they come along. We could have lost her for two weeks but US Soccer and specifically Tom S, the coach, did not want to take Morgan away from her college season for that long.

William (Washington, DC): Biggest lesson you have learned, or biggest change you have made as a coach, in the past 10 years?
Steve Swanson: To trust the players and work with them as much as possible. Earlier in my career I tended to push from the front as opposed to getting in amongst the team and pushing them along from the middle. I give them the keys to the car more often now.

Bruce (Norfolk): How does your style of play compare to other top ACC programs like Notre Dame and UNC?
Steve Swanson: It is hard to compare our program to others but I can let you know about our style. We try to play the game with an emphasis on skills and handling the ball under pressure, fast movement of the ball, good mobility and interchange between our team and a commitment to attacking from all of our players. We also defend zonally and more often than not try and press high up the pitch.

Mallory (Bonn): What has been the greatest surprise of the season thus far?
Steve Swanson: Well, we knew this team was capable of playing some good soccer and getting results but I guess one of the biggest surprises is how our team just has not really gotten carried away with the rankings and the outside attention and just stayed focused on what we need to do to improve. For so many teams I think this would be a distraction but for this team I have been proud of the way they have kept their focus and how they have continued to train and grow as a team.

Rachel (Boston): Having the privilege to watch the team play live both in person and online, I have noticed that some games the team struggles with a slow start. With a competition as strong as ND coming in, what can you do to ensure the team comes out fighting from start to finish.
Steve Swanson: Yes, I think our team is well aware of how we have started slowly in some games....it is something we have pinpointed but I think they have responded well to this challenge and have improved. We are confident we will be ready physically and mentally for the start of this game.

Morgan Brian fan!: How has Morgan's experience playing for the U.S. National team benefited her as well as the rest of the team this year, coach?
Steve Swanson: I think the biggest benefit of Morgan going in with the Full team is her confidence has gone up. Playing with those players has elevated her game in a number of ways and even more her confidence has grown. Morgan is playing with more confidence and leading with more confidence which has really benefitted our team as a whole

Megan (Charlottesville): What has been the key to the stellar defensive play/goaltending this season?
Steve Swanson: In addition to some talented players playing in the back and in goal, we take a lot of pride in defending as a group of 11. It really is a total defensive concept starting from our forwards and working back through our midfielders and to our backs a GK. They work hard for one another, cover for one another, and it matters to them that they shut teams down.

Mary from Charlottesville: This team just seems like a special group of girls. What is it that makes this team so special?
Steve Swanson: They are a special group of players and people. What makes this group so special is the bond they have with one another. They care about each other, they are not scared to compete against each other, they have the same values, they are disciplined and they have fun together. And I think when you see them play any fan would pick up on this chemistry. We call them "sisters" and that is what they are...they have that same bond.

Rachel (Boston): You have coached at the international level and have been very successful doing so, how can you bring what you have learned as a US U-20 World Cup winning coach and implement that to your college team?
Steve Swanson: I learned a great deal coaching at the international level and two of the things that hopefully we have brought to the team here at Virginia are a better sense of the planning process and the merging of sports science to performance. We have done a great deal more planning here at Virginia in this past year as a staff and we have done more utilizing all the resources here at Virginia from a science perspective....for example using our nutrition/medical staff to do blood draws to see the Vitamin D and Iron content of our players so they can perform optimally.

Dick (Lexington): Is there a genuine divide between an American style of women's soccer (relying on physicality and athleticism) and an international style (supposedly based on technical skills)? Is this something U.S. coaches and players should be concerned about?
Steve Swanson: Yes, I believe this is something we should be concerned with......as our athleticism and physicality will only take us so far. We need to concentrate on developing players technically and tactically first without losing sight of our special qualities that we possess athletically. Morgan Brian, Danielle Colaprico, Kate Norbo Emily Sonnett are just a few examples of great role models for aspiring players as they are exceptional athletes in their own way but that is not the first thing you notice on the field. You notice their skills on the ball, their movement off the ball and their ability to combine with one another on the field.
Wahoo Central Moderator: That is all the time we have with Coach Swanson today. Thanks to everyone who submitted questions. Hope to see everyone Thursday night at Klöckner!