Soccer Sports

Rebuild finally nearing the end for Cougars

Chris Pfau

Head coach Chris Pfau is entering his fourth season at Houston, but feels more comfortable than ever. Pfau says he knows he has the backing and understanding of the athletic department, and with a few recruiting classes under his belt, will be looking for better results in a tough American Athletic Conference season. | Bryce Dodds/The Cougar

For the Houston women’s soccer team, a turnaround for the entire program is in the works.
After going 1-11-5 last season, and entering his fourth year as head coach, Chris Pfau says he feels no pressure going forward.

“I have a very supportive administration that knows soccer takes some time to turn around a program,” said Pfau. “We recruit freshman and sophomores in high school, so there is no quick fix with women’s soccer. The way we recruit it is about a six-year transition to build a successful program.”

This year, Pfau has a roster formed of mostly his own players, either through recruiting or transfers, with only one player recruited by former coach Susan Bush, and the sophomore and incoming class being his first recruiting class.

“I am getting there,” said Pfau.

Although he says it takes about six years for a team to really be his, Pfau is proud of his current group of players, saying everyone is there for the right reasons and he is comfortable.

“Honestly, I am always comfortable as a coach,” said Pfau. “I knew what I was getting into, and knew there were no short cuts. Our administration understands the process.”

As he is able to bring in the players that he wants, Pfau says he can continue to build on the foundation that he wants: from how they play, but also how they are off the field.

He also looks to make sure every player is on the same page, and know that they are all in it together, which he felt the team did not have his first two seasons.

“We are one this year and there is no superstar,” said Pfau. “We need each other and will support each other.”

In addition to roster woes, Pfau said the toughest part in turning the program around has been the transition to the American Athletic Conference.

“It is one of the toughest conference’s in the country. So, not only trying to recruit and build a program but changing conferences has been the most difficult,” said Pfau. “ My first year, we made the Conference-USA tournament, but the jump to the American which has four teams ranked in the top 25 and eight of the 10 teams were at some point ranked in the top 100 in the country.”

The team lost only two non-conference games last fall, which Pfau says were mostly due to lacking both depth and players up front that can score.

His goal for this season is to turn at least half of the team’s ties into wins, which would in turn lead to more confidence as the team heads into conference play.

In part of the team’s need for more confidence, Pfau said the program is also in need of more fan support.

“Most people on campus have no idea we have women’s soccer and most people ask if I am the men’s soccer coach,” said Pfau. “Part of this we have to be better on the field to get fans, but I also believe we are starting to get the top players from the Houston area, and they will help generate fans.”

Although his team is made up of players who Pfau calls “very young,” he has transfers and players whom he says have stuck it out because they see where the program is going.

This team has formed their identity, and they’re ready to show it out on the pitch.

“I believe we will be united and a real team this year,” said Pfau. “Not players who have their own agenda, but players that will put the team first. Because of this, it will be unity, one and toughness.”

[email protected]

Leave a Comment