first_img Published on September 4, 2019 at 11:21 pm Contact Arabdho: [email protected] | @aromajumder On the chain-link fence beside a shed at Hookway Athletic Field, there are 50 ribbons, all different colors. Each player on the Syracuse women’s soccer team owns two — one for each win this season. Some tied the ribbons on top of one another, others chose to space them out.It’s a tradition started this season by first-year head coach Nicky Adams. Already, three games into her tenure, the Orange are two-thirds of the way to the amount of ribbons they would’ve put up last season.“It reminds us that winning matters and the feeling that we had when we won,” Adams said.Syracuse (2-1) first contacted Adams, then-head coach of Rice, this past February after the Orange lost 13 straight games to end its season. Phil Wheddon resigned less than 24 hours after SU’s worst season in program history. By early March, Adams was named his successor, the Orange’s fourth head coach since the program started in 1996. Adams said she’s here for the “long haul” and believes the administration will give her time to turn the program around and become a contender in the Atlantic Coast Conference, one of the toughest leagues in women’s soccer.“I felt like I was ready for the next challenge,” Adams said. “I’ve been offered other jobs in the past but the timing with my family didn’t work out, and it was just crazy how the timing this time with Syracuse worked out. When I came for my interview, everything just felt right.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textArabdho Majumder | Asst. Digital EditorGrowing up in El Paso, Texas, a border town, Adams said she grew up playing a Hispanic-influenced brand of soccer — more about heart and passion than tactics, she said. Women’s soccer was still early in its development at the time — the first Women’s World Cup was in 1991 — and there was only one select team in the region.As a high school freshman, Adams participated in an Olympic Development Program. Adams’ maiden name is Thrasher, and Texas A&M head coach G Guerrieri said the name was fitting once he saw her play for a club team in El Paso.“She basically thrashed through a team of much older players and just was playing at a speed that was different to anyone else on the field,” Guerrieri said.Adams received a letter from Guerrieri at the start of her junior year of high school, prompting Adams’ mother to call him. Adams got the spiel from her and remembered saying “these things don’t happen very often, and I’m in a position to go be a part of a top 25 school.”So she went to College Station, Texas and again made a leap. Adams chose to forego her senior year of high school and went straight to A&M in 1997 as a “wide-eyed 17-year-old that didn’t even have a driver’s license,” she said.At the time, Guerrieri said most programs, including his, were just recruiting seniors. Very few players graduated high school early, which didn’t become a norm until around 2007, he added.Adams called Guerrieri her “second father” and credited him with breaking down soccer and teaching her the tactical side of the game. Their relationship came with plenty of commitment on both sides, and Guerrieri referred to Adams as a “soccer rat.” She’d always ask the coaches how and why they did things. She’d train for 45 minutes before team practices. Then, Adams would stay after to watch film with the coaching staff.“When you love something and you’re passionate about something and you have big goals and you’re put in a situation where people believe you can do it and want to help you,” Adams said, “you don’t want to disappoint either, so it was my No. 1 thing to do in college.”Eva Suppa | Digital Design EditorAfter a fractured fibula forced her to redshirt in 2000, a local U-9 girls team in the area approached her to coach them. Unable to play soccer and feeling lost at the time without it, she quickly grew to love coaching, Adams said. The girls looked up to her so much that they named the team the College Station Thrashers, Guerrieri said.Adams has been told in the past that her teams tend to mirror her competitive edge. Her father was a horse jockey, so she grew up around tracks watching him race, and while her passion and fierce competitive attitude turned to soccer, Adams just loves to win, she said. In her first two games as head coach for the Orange, she did just that.To start the season, Adams has encouraged her forwards to use their creativity, and throughout the year, she hopes to see improvements in her players’ soccer IQ with that added freedom. Her changes aim for a more attacking style of soccer on the pitch while attempting to bond with the girls off the field, whether it be giving full effort at practice or joining in on singing and dancing competitions with her players.“I love her,” junior Mackenzie Vlachos said. “She just has such a positive energy. She cares so much for this team, and she believes in us, and I think that really helps.”A slight smile starts to tug her players’ lips at the mention of their new head coach’s name. The coach who invited them over a handful of times already. Who joins them in singing Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” on road trips. And the one who embraced an exhausted Georgia Allen after a home-opener win, SU’s first in three years.Adams has become the pulse for a team that didn’t think it could win again. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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