Before 2006, the name Georgetown meant little to nothing in the college soccer world. While the program dates back to 1952, the team had only produced two trips to the NCAA tournament and one conference title. So when Brian Weise, a coach with no head coaching experience under his belt, was hired in 2006, few could have predicted the change that has come. However, after just one recruiting cycle, Coach Weise has established Georgetown as an east coast powerhouse. The program is now nationally recognized, perennially vying for titles and attracting top recruits from across the country. How has Coach Weise managed to transform the soccer program in such a short time? One huge impact was the shift to a fully funded soccer team in 2005, but is there something in Coach Weise’s tactics that has also helped turn the program around?
The game of soccer is often considered a two-sided coin, half defense and half offense. Is one half more influential on a team’s success? Is it better to be a stingy defense that prevents goals or a high-powered offense that scores them? In examining Georgetown’s rise to success, I wanted to take a closer look at the team’s performance and see if one of these forces has been more influential in the program’s success. From watching the team play, one would assume that Georgetown’s suffocating possessive style of play and dynamic playmakers such as Steve Neumann and Brandon Allen have created an overpowering offense that has fueled the program’s recent success. But can the data support this claim?
Last season in the Big East, a team’s defense was much more of an indicator of success than a team’s offense.
This data shows us that last season, Big East teams that maintained a strong defense were more successful than those that maintained a strong goal scoring offense.
Given this insight, it seemed important to take a closer look at how well Georgetown’s defense has performed as of late and compile some data from the last 16 seasons. From 1998 to 2006 the team was under the direction of Head Coach Keith Tabatznik and the team’s defense was in complete disarray. Over the Tabatznik years, the defense annually deteriorated, contributing to a slow gradual program decline until Coach Tabatznik’s eventual resignation.
Following Coach Tabatznik’s resignation in 2006, the data has painted a very different picture of Georgetown’s team. The team consistently improved defensively under Coach Weise as we can see from examining each coach’s average number of goals conceded per game across the past 16 years. In Coach Tabatznik’s last eight seasons the team conceded an average of 1.55 goals per game. In his first eight seasons Coach Weise’s has cut that average by almost 1/3 to 1.03 goals conceded per game. Coach Weise’s defensive prowess has, in return, helped elevate the program to new heights.
Having already propelled his teams to multiple school records and garnered national acclaim, many believe this year could finally be the year that Coach Weise and the Hoyas capture their first NCAA Title. With all four defensive starters, as well as the goalkeeper, returning for this season’s campaign, I wouldn’t disagree. Already having the second best defense in the country last season, it’s difficult to spot room for improvement in the back; however, having another year of experience under their belts could make a huge difference. The team is off to a steady start, currently ranked 13th in the country with a record of 4-1-3, including strong performances against 2013 National Champions Notre Dame and 2012 National Champions Indiana. I recommend college soccer fans across the country to keep an eye out for the Hoyas this season as strong contenders to defend their Big East Title and make a deep postseason run for a National Title.
Georgetown University Class of 2016