Soccer guru Shelley Beck will have the opportunity of a lifetime to coach some of the best soccer players in the nation against top-notch competition from around the globe.
Eastside Catholic Crusaders girls soccer head coach Beck will be an assistant coach on the United States women’s soccer team at the 29th annual World University Summer Games. The soccer tournament will take place from Aug. 19-30 in Taipei, Taiwan. Cliff McCrath, who coached at Seattle Pacific University from 1970-2007, will be the head coach of the United States squad. The team will be made up of 16 players from 14 different universities in the nation. Beck is looking forward to coaching with one of her most esteemed mentors. Beck has known McCrath since she was 13 years old.
“We’ve had a longstanding history together. This is the first time we’ve co-coached together on an international level. I’m really excited about it. [McCrath] has quite a bit of international experience and this will be my first international experience as a coach,” Beck said. “We will compliment each other quite well.”
Beck said all but one of the players on the roster were on NCAA Division-1 rosters.
“They’ve all played at the highest level,” she said. “All of these ladies are the best players from their university. Most of them are midfielders. Midfielders are where you put your best players. Each person on this team is a prolific goal scorer and is a playmaker. We will be able to pass well and hopefully score a lot of goals.”
Beck said the United States team will have just three practices and one practice game against Mexico before tournament play begins. The challenge of building a cohesive unit with a mere practice game and three practices will be a formidable challenge for McCrath and Beck.
“We’re not worried about fitness. All of these players have recently graduated and are at the top of their game,” Beck said. “It is just a matter of us fusing them together as a team. It is really going to be up to us coaches to blend everybody together and turn them into a team.”
Beck will miss the first few weeks of the Eastside Catholic girls soccer team’s practice sessions because of her trip to Taiwan.
“The Eastside Catholic athletic director [Jeremy Thielbahr] has been very gracious about allowing me to go on this trip. I have a really great support staff and I’m really excited about the assistant coaches,” she said.