Becca Moros jumped on a plane from New York to Tucson after receiving the news that she would be hired as the next head coach of the Arizona soccer team.
Escorted by both of her parents, Moros hopped out of the car and stood in front of the airport terminal with her suitcases at her hip and her backpack strapped around her shoulders, reliving a similar moment she had experienced 18 years ago.
Moros was leaving for college again.
“Before I left the house, my parents dropped me off at the airport again and my dad said, ‘Oh, it's been 18 years since we did this the first time,’” Moros said at her introductory press conference on Monday, July 19. “So we took, you know, kind of a dorky leaving for college picture.”
Moros played soccer at Duke University from 2003-06, where she was an All-American and a three-time All ACC selection. She was also the team captain for the USA U-21 National Team in 2006 during her senior season.
After her college career, Moros was drafted in the sixth round of the 2009 Women’s Professional Soccer Draft by the Washington Freedom. She then played three years in the WPS, two years in the Nadeshiko League in Japan and six years in the NWSL before retiring as a player in 2019 to become an assistant coach for Gotham FC in 2020.
“I think every experience in the game is valuable,” Moros said. “It teaches you different things. I've played for a lot of different coaches. Part of being a member of four different soccer leagues, leagues have folded, different coaches have come in, different owners, different managers, so I don't think I've necessarily had the best experience or the longest playing career that I've ever had, but I had tremendous learning experiences as far as becoming a coach. Seeing what works, what doesn't work and kind of drawing from that to sort of build my own philosophy and my own leadership style and culture that I'd like to set here.”
Moros said she has never been one to do things other people’s way but acknowledged that former Wildcats head coach Tony Amato, who left in the offseason to become the head coach at the University of Florida, did an excellent job at building the program up from where it once was and hopes to continue that trend under her command.
“I think that [Amato] built an incredible foundation, and the players do a lot of things really, really well,” Moros said. “Our goal will be to maintain all the stuff that he's built in the lessons that he's taught and to kind of shift that philosophy into something that rings true to what we're going to do in training and what we're going to build tactically, as well. So I think it would be a great fit.”
Moros will certainly have her work cut out for her right away. With the 2021 season scheduled to begin in August, Moros said she knows the turnaround will be quick but has already laid out a formula for success to counter the short and approaching timeline.
“The first thing is getting to know the players both on and off the field and building trust,” Moros said. “Before you ask anybody to change something they do or to think about it differently, you've got to know what they're doing and why they're doing it, so I think understanding each other and building trust is key. I think from there, you kind of challenge people according to what you know where they're at. So definitely figuring out how much time we have to build whatever we want to build and what's gonna make us as competitive as we can be right away to the kind of things that we as a staff will be going through and observing, and I'll definitely be leaning on my staff pretty hard throughout the season.”
As if the quick turnaround wasn’t enough, Arizona remains one of the only Pac-12 teams to have not released its 2021 schedule yet. Moros said that the schedule is further along than it may seem and hasn’t altered the preparation process too much.
“I think we generally have a pretty good idea of all our opponents; there's just some crossing T's and dotting I’s that has to be done,” Moros said. “I think in terms of planning, we're already kind of doing that and hopefully we can release that schedule soon.”
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