WKU soccer striving for ‘blue collar attitude’

M. Blake Harrison

Getting a team to play its heart out for the duration of a game is a challenge regardless of the sport.

The way Head Coach Jason Neidell sees it, playing a complete game means being focused on all the details for 90 minutes. It’s a point he said he’s tried to drive home during the Lady Toppers’ young season.

Though Neidell admitted total focus can be hit and miss throughout a soccer match, he says it’s the key to success for the Lady Toppers.

“It’s hard to do in the game of soccer,” Neidell said. “There’s different rhythms to the game, so putting together a complete 90 minutes is a tough task, but it’s the thing that separates good teams from great teams.”

Maintaining a “blue-collar attitude” has become a rallying point for a group that notched its first win a week ago today.

Junior midfielder Kelsey Meyer said she considers a blue-collar attitude to be “getting after each opponent.” It’s manifested on the field in a number of ways, she said.

“We’ve been working on transitioning to attack,” Meyer said. “I think we need to score a lot more goals this season.”

Being in the minority as an upperclassman, Meyer said she’s been trying to become more of a leader while building confidence in younger players.

Confidence, she said, is key when putting forth a blue collar attitude.

At the beginning of the season, Neidell harped on good defense, said freshman midfielder Chrissy Tchoula. Neidell reasoned that offense begins with good defense, and until that’s perfected, not much good will happen.

Tchoula said it’s understandable if teams start off slow during a road game, which is something the Lady Toppers have dealt with already this season.

But when employing a blue-collar attitude, she said it’s a guarantee that the team will be in the mix to win.

“Honestly, there are going to be days when you’re not technically good, but you can always play hard. You can always play with ferocity,” Tchoula said. “Being on the road is not really an excuse. We have to start hard and finish hard, so we have been working on that.”

While fancy footwork and other forms of showy skills are often admired and enjoyed by fans of the game, those things can be why some players lose track of their actual purpose on the field.

And that’s where Neidell says the blue-collar attitude comes into play.

“I think there’s a lot more to it than looking pretty and passing the ball around,” Neidell said. “I think our intensity, our fight and our drive makes up that blue-collar attitude, and that’s going to be really, really important.”