Clemson women’s soccer assistant coach Jeff Robbins embraces his role as a part of the turnaround in the Tiger program. Robbins sat down with MyOrangeUpdate.com for a few minutes to discuss the progress of the team and how much he is enjoying his job this year.
Question: Where do you see this team making the greatest strides right now?
Coach Robbins: “I still think we have a long way to go in terms of getting the collective mentality established that it takes to succeed on a game in, game out basis. We are the sum of our collective experiences. They have shown an ability to get themselves back into games, which I think is progress for us. We just can’t quite get across the finish line. We’re going to have to probably lose some of those kinds of games for them to learn how to win when we get into that situation going forward. It is a process where you just have to keep building and learning through that process. There is a big learning curve, but we have definitely taken a step. I think they all recognize we can do this. It just has to be on a consistent, game-to-game basis.”
Question: Is it easier for freshmen or upperclassmen to go through that process?
Coach Robbins: “The freshmen have a clean slate. They are trying to create their own identities and write their own stories. I think we have a lot of freshmen who have come in that are used to winning and are playing at a very competitive level. They are bringing that to the table. That’s what they are adding to the total package. They are trying to come to grips with many different things—the speed of play, the competitive grind that goes into the ACC, the fact that there are no easy games. It’s really more of an execution thing for them. Some of the players who have been there are trying to reach back down and find that belief again. We have talked about trying to find the difference. We’re trying to find moments they can latch onto where they believed that they could win the game. We have to take those and try to do those things at the beginning and the end. That’s going to require playing without fear. I think it’s going to be a process to get to that point.”
Question: What has been the most fun thing for you so far in dealing with this team this year?
Coach Robbins: “It’s an impressive group as far as how much they care about each other and support each other. There is still room to grow as far as how far they are willing to go to push each other to maximize their abilities on a daily basis. It has been a fun team to be around because there are so many diverse personalities to get to know. That’s always the most fun part of being associated with a new team. That’s the one thing that team sports brings—those relationships. As coaches, we try to give, but we receive a lot as well in terms of those experiences with young kids and their enthusiasm. It helps to bring us back to the game.”
—compiled by William Qualkinbush