Mike Idland | Head Coach | Women’s Soccer | University of Pittsburgh at Bradford

Describe the qualities that your program is looking for in a potential student-athlete?

I am looking for athletic ability, sufficient experience playing at a relatively high club level, responsibility and independence (things are done on time and professionally by the PSA, not her parents), and personability (is their personality going to be workable within our team?).

Could you give us an example of a current or former player who exceeded your expectations, highlighting the reasons that player excelled?

Once a player has arrived here, Loyalty is the quality I value the most in them: loyalty to their teammates, to their coaches, to their school, to the program as a whole. For some it’s there immediately, for some it takes time to develop, and for some loyalty never really seems to develop; and they never seem to survive here. I have one player in mind who exceeded expectations in this area. Her name is Amanda and she was kind of the silent-killer type: never said much out in the open and was a ruthless competitor, a remarkably consistent defender. Although she was always quiet, it was always very clear to me how much she loved her team. I’d sometimes learn after the fact about things she had done for our team without my knowing that endeared her to me forever. For example, after Amanda’s junior season, our only goalkeeper came into my office to meet with me and informed me that she wouldn’t be playing next season – that’s Division III …. She said that she was overwhelmed by the time commitment, the difficulty of balancing the academics, and the pressure: all the usual stuff. She went on to say that she had, in fact, firmly decided that she was quitting mid-season (even though it would have left us without a goalkeeper for the remainder of the season). I asked her what happened (because this was the first I was hearing about it, and she did, after all, finish the season – and played well too!)? She said that Amanda reasoned with her, that she basically talked her off the ledge. Amanda was already a captain at this point and she innately knew how little patience I have for this type of disloyalty. Rather than bringing this problem to me at the time, she simply took care of it – and took care of her team in the process. If the goalkeeper hadn’t recounted these events at the meeting, I would have never even known that Amanda made such a critical intervention for her team, and for me. Years later, when our team played on the road in its first ever conference championship game (and narrowly lost), I got a text that evening from Amanda saying how proud she was of the program and of the work I’m doing with it. She was at the game, of course, anonymously blending in with the crowd, and she assured me that she’d be there when we make it back again. This is the kind of loyalty that I value in a player. And it’s the reason that I will always be available to Amanda to help her with anything she needs for as long as we know each other.