August 9, 2002

Q & A with Cameron Rast

Aug. 9, 2002

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Since coming to the Santa Clara campus in the late 80's, Cameron Rast has had a lasting impact on the men's soccer program. He led the Broncos to an undefeated National Championship season in 1989 before heading off to captain the U.S. Olympic squad during the 1992 games in Barcelona, Spain. He rejoined the Bronco program as a coach in 1993 and was promoted to the position of Associate Head Coach just prior to the 2001 season.

The year Rast is beginning his first season at the helm of the program where he made his name as a player. His squad will begin practice on August 15th in preparation for their first game at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, September 2 against Notre Dame de Namur at Buck Shaw Stadium. In preparation for his first practice, Rast sat down and shared his thoughts on the upcoming season.

On first-year expectations...
"I think that this program has really established itself as one of the elite programs in the country. However, the success of this team over the years has come in pockets. I would like to have this program consistently be among the elite in the nation, meaning that we don't have two great years followed up by two good years. I would like us to strive for and attain great years all the time. In terms of expectations of my staff, and myself we are looking to provide the environment for these kids that will allow them to develop the abilities to solve problems on the field. We want them to be exciting on the field and to really showcase themselves so that they can enjoy the sport and play at that highly competitive level within the team concept because that is the only way it will work."

On the roll that soccer plays in the Santa Clara University philosophy of developing the entire person...
"Soccer is a great tool for teaching tool for developing the entire person. I attended Santa Clara University and found that many life lessons can not only be applied to the field, but can be taken from the field as well. Lessons like the ability to work in groups, the ability to problem solve, leadership and the ability to take place in working to attain a common goal. I think that those are some of the most valuable lessons and then there is the obvious ones like respect for yourself, your teammates and those in authority over you."

On the mindset entering the 2003 season looking to repeat as West Coast Conference Champions...
"The goal structure for the staff and the way that we have always presented it to our players is to play for a National Championship. The WCC title is a stepping stone for what we want to accomplish and that is to play for a National Championship. Our conference is a very competitive league and by no means do we take that lightly. We had five of seven teams from the conference last year make the NCAA Tournament, which is more than any other conference in the country. So we can't afford to take the competition lightly, but at the same time our goals don't just reside in the conference, they aspire to a much bigger and loftier prize. Part of it also resides in what the team wants. We relay to them what we would like our goals to be, but the team will also get together and have a goal setting time where they put together a plan and we go from there. Each team tends to be a little different because the personalities are never going to be the same year in and year out. Each year the leadership changes and your ability to flow with that and foster that development and growth with ultimately lead to your success with that team. Because of that we tend to allow the players to go after the goals that they want to go after."

On whether or not the Santa Clara style of play will change under his leadership...
"I think a lot of people have the perception of our style of play as very defensive, or on the defensive side of things. I think that on the contrary that we want to play a very attractive style of attacking play. Some of that has to do with the type of players that we have in the programs, but some of it has to do with our willingness to teach the attacking style and to trust it. There is no doubt that defense wins you games and that defense will win you championships. I don't claim to have this brand new style of play or philosophy that will revolutionize the game of soccer, that is far from the truth, but I really do believe that while defense wins you championships, that if you don't score goals, you can't win the game. For me, I don't mind winning the game by a 10-9 score, as long as we win the game. However we can win games, I will go with that style. If the attractiveness has to suffer a bit for us to win games, then so be it, because I have seen very attractive 0-0 games, but in the end I think we will be very offensive minded and an attacking team. If the players buy into the philosophy, then we will be a fun and exciting team to watch."

On the strengths of the 2003 Broncos...
"I think our concentration and our commitment to the team framework will be two keys for us this year. We have very talented players returning in Scott McLain, Jamil Walker, Ryan Cochrane and Steve Cronin, just to name a few. We will be dependent on their leadership on and off the field to come up with the big plays and changes games for us in a positive manner. At the same time, there will be a lot of players that contribute. The team concept will be very important for us in that we do not have a lot of upper classmen returning. The bulk of our team resides in the freshman and sophomore class which means we will rely on their exuberance, emotion and willingness to stay within a team concept in order for us to be successful, especially this year."