Q&A with Bob Ammann, Part V

After 18 years of dedicated service to Cal State Fullerton, former Titans goalkeeper and long-time assistant coach Bob Ammann was promoted to lead CSF's men's soccer program. TitanCentral.com recently sat down coach Ammann and in this final part he talks about his coaching philosphy.

TitanCentral.com: As an assistant, you had a reputation as being fairly tough in practice. Is your approach as head coach any different? And is this even a fair statement?

Bob Ammann: I think so. I go back to my playing. I had coaches who were very tough. I had coaches that told you what they thought you wanted to hear. As a player and someone that is trying to improve, although it might no be what you hear all the time, you go away and respect what was told.

It's not always easy being that coach that tells players, "Listen, this is what needs to happen." And that's why it goes back to my original statement: There needs to be a relationship. If I have a relationship with you it's going to be a little bit easier for you and I to communicate about the things we want on the soccer field. This way you are not as sensitive to the things being said.

The players want to be pushed. They want to strive for that next level. And me giving anything less than the proper coaching, as difficult as it is, in regards to fitness, in regards to the mental side, in regards to the tactical side, is short-changing them.

If you have a quality relationship those players are going to want to step out onto the field and want to play for you, rather than, "He's just a slave-driver and puts us down."

I was once told that 60% of the results in a game is based on the relationship between the coach and the players. Now, if I can start a game with that advantage, I'll do whatever I have to do. I'll have meetings every day with the guys if I think that's going to help.

TitanCentral.com: Final thoughts? Anything I forgot to bring up?

Bob Ammann: I didn't mention it in guys coming back but Marco Rodriguez, who is coming off injury, is going to be a big-time player for us as well. If you look at Gabriel and Michael Farfan, you throw in Michael Balogun and you throw in Marco. Those are four players who were on the Under-17 National Team. There's not too many schools in the country that would have National Team players involved.

So my hope is we get Michael Balogun eligible. Marco, we we having to deal with eligibility and injury. He had an ACL... he's coming around but he's been off for some time so we're just slowly bringing him back in.

Also, he's just had a bunch of issues, personally, which have been difficult for him. He's NCAA eligible and he's only 22 units away from graduation but he's dropped below our school 2.0 rule so now he needs to petition the school to get his eligibility back. That group is meeting on Monday (Aug. 28th). So we're hoping it will all be okay and he'll be able to go to Memphis with us.

TitanCentral.com: Uh-oh, I have heard that some coaches have not had good experiences in getting players eligible and many mistakes have been made by the administrators. Hopefully all works out for the best.

Bob Ammann: In fairness you have people who are over-extended. You have one person doing the eligibility of all the student-athletes. There's going to be mistakes, it's inevitable. Now is that their fault? No. Hopefully we can get to the point where we have more help and those mistakes get ironed out.

[Editor's Note: Since the interview Marco has been ruled eligible and will join the team on their trip to the Memphis Tournament]

TitanCentral.com: Coach, thank-you for you time and good luck this season.

Bob Ammann: Well I appreciate the opportunity. One of my goals as the head coach is reaching out to past alums, reaching out to the community on campus as well as the community that is the Titan family. The more positive feedback people get ... this isn't my team, this isn't any one's particular program. I see this as the Titan community's team and program.