The Atlanta Beat brought in James Galanis as interim head coach this week after relieving Gareth O’Sullivan and assistant coach Robbie Nicholson of their duties.
With five games left in the regular season for the Beat, the team still has a chance to move up from seventh place in the Women’s Professional Soccer standings.
"I came in with a plan firstly to motivate them and to let them understand that there is a lot of hope and that there are some positives in this situation," said Galanis. "So I basically motivated them to believe that they’ve got everything to play for."
Coach Galanis has been working with the team on their defensive shape and how they are going to get the ball up the field during games.
"Basically, when we regain possession of the ball, what are we going to do with it? Are we going to move the ball up the field? I don’t want them to just go forward. I want them to think and look up field to see what’s available," said Galanis.
The new coach says that he puts pressure on the team to make the best decisions. “My philosophy is that when you lose the ball, you must become a small compact unit that pressures the ball.”
Coach Galanis has actually worked with the Beat’s Hope Solo, Tina Ellertson, and Kia McNeill before and says that all three of the players have come up to him and expressed how happy they are for him to be here.
"They are happy and this is like a dream come true for them and also for me," said the coach.
Galanis is hoping to keep the players at a good place mentally.
“Most importantly it’s the mental component to make the girls believe that they can still make it,” said Galanis. “Tactically, I’m going to improve them, and physically, I’ve got to make them a little bit sharper.”
As the interim head coach for the Beat, Galanis’ first game with the team is this Saturday, August 21, against the Boston Breakers.
“I am looking forward to the weekend,” said Galanis. “The girls put in a hard couple of days both mentally and physically. Now they’ve just got to go in and empty the tanks this weekend.”
After the Beat’s game this Saturday, their next game will be at home against FC Gold Pride at 7pm.
More Quotes from Interim Head Coach Galanis
On defensive play:
"In the actual area where the ball is, there will be a lot of pressure. But, while that pressure is applied, there will be a shape behind that area that provides cover."
On starting lineup:
"I haven’t made a decision yet. I’ve got to sit down with the paper in front of me and decide how they performed. I’ve got to talk to the players, and see who can really go the full 90. I haven’t made a decision."
On his mindset:
I think one of their issues is that back line was playing too far from midfield. Anytime you have space. That’s trouble. Make the girls aware to keep lines nice and tight.
On McCall Zerboni:
"I like McCall. I noticed her straight away. She was very vocal and encouraging to her teammates. I noticed in the game that she is fearless. I haven’t made the decision yet but she is definitely in the mix."
On his pregame playlist:
"Electronic music, just hardcore beating."
*Photo courtesy of isiphotos.com