FC Tucson coach, team talk leadership & playing style
Logue, Somersall to share captain duties when soccer side opens season in Florida
Who will wear the captain’s armband? Usually, it’s only a question that a particularly navel-gazing sort of fan worries about. It is an important honor for a player, however. It’s a sign that your teammates and coaches trust you with leadership. There are also practical considerations. The captain is given a bit more leeway to argue calls with the referee, for example.
One of the issues that came up in an online press conference held by FC Tucson on Thursday was who would be the team captain. The answer from coach John Galas was unusual: both defender Niall Logue and midfielder Raheem Somersall will be sharing the duty.
Of course, only one player can wear the armband once a game starts. Galas noted that Logue will be assuming on-field captain duties, with Somerall taking over should Logue have to leave the field.
“We don’t anticipate him coming off the field much this year,” said Galas. “But he is Irish and prone to the old two-foot tackle here and there.”
“It’s a massive honor,” said Logue, who will be playing in his first game for the team on Saturday. “For me, personally, whether I was wearing the armband or Raheem was wearing the armband, it’s not going to change my leadership skills; it’s not going to change Raheem’s…it’s just a piece of cloth at the end of the day.”
“It’s a perfect balance,” said Somersall, who is one of five players from last season returning to the team. “Niall is more outspoken, more crazy; I am more laid back.”
“I’m not too concerned about wearing the armband,” he continued. “The important thing is that the players respect both of us. That’s the biggest thing for me.”
Florida, Florida, Florida
The first test of the team’s Spartan dual kingship will come on Saturday against Fort Lauderdale CF, a team affiliated with the David Beckham-owned Inter Miami CF. Their very first game came in last week’s season opener where they dropped a match to Greenville Triumph SC. Fort Lauderdale looked listless early in the match, and their young front line (all Inter Miami academy grads) managed only two shots on frame.
Still, FC Tucson will be coming off a cross-country flight to play in the match. Also, Inter Miami was knocked out of the MLS is Back tournament, meaning players with MLS experience may be available to play for Fort Lauderdale.
The details of this match aside, Galas again emphasized the tactical stamp he wants to put on the team.
“We’ll tweak it as needed, but we are still going to have a core value of how we want to approach the play,” he said. “That’s attacking minded, possession oriented.”
“As far as I’m concerned, the opposition can’t score if we have the ball,” he added.
Last season, the purpose of FC Tucson was to teach the style of Phoenix Rising. Being attached to a successful team had its downside. It meant that the team had to adopt Phoenix’s tactics rather than be creative based on the opponents. This year’s relationship gives the coaching staff a lot more freedom.
“The style of football last year wasn’t interesting,” Somersall acknowledged. “It did show, unfortunately. We didn’t make the playoffs. This year I feel like we have a really good chance of doing that.”
Saturday’s game will be 4 p.m. local time. It can be viewed on ESPN+.
Nod off and sleep
Like Somersall, Logue wants “interesting” football.
“This is not going to be nod off and sleep football,” he added. “Not like Stoke City in the Premier League. Not just lobbing it back and forth.”
Stoke City? Man, dissing the legacy of Sir Stanley Matthews. These kids today....