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Anson Dorrance's "THE VISION OF A CHAMPION" - Select Quotes from the Book



The following quotes are taken from "The Vision of a Champion", which is a book written by legendary University of North Carolina Women’s soccer coach, Anson Dorrance. Anson Dorrance is a  21-time NCAA National Champion with University of North Carolina; The Tar Heels' record under Dorrance is 719-39-24 (.935 winning percentage) a 1991 Women’s World Cup Champion as the USA coach; U.S.A Women’s National team 1986-1994.  (.945 winning percentage) over 34 seasons with UNC.  He has coached 13 different women to a total of 20 National Player of the Year awards. He has won the ACC Tournament 19 times and was ACC Champion 20 times. He was also the NCAA Women's Soccer Coach of the Year eight times (1982, 1986, 1987, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2006), Men's Soccer Coach of the Year 1987 and elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame.




  • The vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion when no one else is watching.
  • If you had to do one exercise every recommendation is to get a ball and play some kid in the neighborhood one on one. That’s going to develop you....if another kid shows up, show a little spunk and play ’em both.
  • Soccer is basically a struggle between the ones who want it and the ones who don’t. Every single duel is a statement of who wants it more.
  • The fitter you are, the harder it is to surrender.
  • The winning mentality is partly optimism, but mostly it’s a combination of focus, pride, competitive anger, relentlessness, hardness, fitness and courage--all the most descriptive words for competitive athletics. This type of mentality is not about your skills or tactics. What it comes down to is intense desire. To get this winning edge, you need to build an indomitable will. This means you must be relentless; you must never give up.
  • At UNC, we talk about transcending ordinary effort. Ordinary effort is when you’re comfortable. That’s mediocrity. A lot of athletes work within their comfort zone, physically and technically. They don’t feel like they are going to lose control or pass out from fatigue. When you train within your comfort zone, you’re not preparing yourself for a match. In a game situation, the other team is trying to take you out of your comfort zone. So as soon as they do, you’re in unfamiliar territory. You panic. You make a mistake, or lose the ball.
  • It is critical for you as a young player to understand that vision and great tactical minds are built on a complete foundation of skill, so that you can problem-solve individually and hurt the other team tactically. Knowing what to do is easily compromised by being unable to do it. Much of the game is spent with this frustration.
  • While some wonderful things can happen in this game, it can also be filled with adversity. Even though we like to think that if we work hard, positive results will follow, obviously, that doesn’t necessarily always happen. But if the challenges the game presents weren’t difficult, it wouldn’t be worth playing. That’s why one of the wonderful life lessons of athletics is that success itself shouldn’t be the ultimate reward--because there are a lot of people who work incredibly hard and never "make it". What is important, above all, is being in the arena.

Quote by Anson Dorrance on PSV Union FC co-Founder and Technical Director

"I have had the privilege to coach a number of talented young women the past 20 years but few with the technical sophistication of Lorrie Fair. When I asked her about her extraordinary development her reply was quick: Gary Ireland made sure I understood everything about the ball, he was not only an amazing coach but a powerful motivator for me and my sister Ronnie.” On Lorrie’s recommendation alone I hired Gary one summer to watch him work and I came away impressed with his knowledge, his energy and his professionalism. He is a brilliant developer of talent." Anson Dorrance