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Briana Thomasson- UC Riverside

What made you choose UC Riverside? Did you have any other offers and interest? 

What made me choose UC Riverside was that they gave me a chance even though they hadn’t really seen me play. I got injured at a bad time while college coaches were watching my team play at the Laguna Eclipse Showcase. I only played for 15 minutes and the UC Riverside coaches (Keishawn Cordier) were there. With help from my coaches they offered me a spot on their team. I did more research and saw it is in Sothern California where I knew I would ideally want to be and that they have a great pre-med program. The Riverside coaches (Keishawn Cordier) also like the way our team plays and have a good relationship with our coaching staff. Once I saw the campus it made believe even more that Riverside was a good fit for me. I didn’t really have any other real offers or interests.

How did you get 'seen' by Riverside?

I was seen by Riverside at the Carlsbad Tournament at the end of November 2011 and at the end of March at a Laguna Eclipse Showcase for only 15 minutes. The assistant and head coach came to our first game of the showcase. Gary and Carine Ireland, my coaches, provided personal recommendation and it was because of their recommendation that the coaches took me.

How would you describe yourself as a player?

I would consider myself a considerate player. When passing to my teammates I try to be thoughtful of playing my teammate a well-weighed pass and on their protected side. I am a player who likes to keep things simple and play one or two touch and when the time is right I like to take on players. I am definitely a combination player and like to be involved with my teammates.

How long have you been at PSV Union?

I have been at PSV Union for almost eight years. I joined the club when I was ten years old and I knew it was the place for me. Gary and Carine have taught me everything I know about soccer and have helped me grow as a player and a person.

What does a typical week of soccer look like for you? # of practices and games?

A typical week of soccer for me includes team practice three times a week, one or two small groups, one game and training on my own when I am not around my teammates. We also study videos of material that we’ve learned in practice and watch games to study the movement of players. We also post blog entries to help us keep track of what we are doing during the week.

What do you emphasize in your trainings?

At PSV Union the main focus of training is to work on our technical precision and speed and speed of decision making/tactical speed and intelligence. Everything we do has a purpose to it. Through the week we may focus on various things such as coervers to test our footwork, passing and receiving drills to work on our detailing, dribbling, striking and aerial controls. They also give us material that we can try in games. We also play a lot of small-sided games and we emphasize playing numbers down so you can’t just pass the ball away to solve every problem. You can read about our coaches philosophy and our coaches personal philosophies on our website

Are there any good young players coming through the club?

Yes, there are a lot of good young players coming through. They have a lot of potential because they are receiving excellent coaching by Gary and Carine and taking the material and practicing it on their own.

What are some of your best experiences in soccer?

One of my best experiences is instead of playing high school soccer my senior year I decided to stay with my club for the winter and focus on my individual skill. During this time I found out so much about myself as player and realized how much potential I had. Another favorite experience was going to England with my team and two other teams from the club. We got to watch professional games, play other teams and do some sight seeing. It was my first time out of the country and a experience I will never forget. Lastly another favorite experience was my teams last game in November Nights Showcase. We warmed up by playing rondo and had one of our best passing games. After the game we had a deep team talk on the field in the dark because the lights shut off and we were the last ones to leave.

What are your long term goals in soccer?

My long-term goals for soccer are to keep growing as a player and being able to influence the players around me for the better. I would like to become more vocal and become more of a leader on the field.

Any advice for young players wishing to pursue soccer in college?

My advice would be to not give up and to keep working hard. Go after what you want because the hard work will pay off. Also I would advise young players to not doubt themselves and have faith that their time will come.

Who is your favorite player and team?

My favorite player would be Messi. He knows when to pass and when to take people on and he has an amazing ability to drive into space and beat multiple players. My favorite team is Barcelona. They play beautiful combination play and when they lose the ball they quickly press together to win the ball back.

Who has been the greatest influence on you as a player?

The greatest influences on me as a player has been Carine and Gary. They have taught me everything I know when it comes to soccer. They have taught me the fundamentals of passing, trapping and dribbling the ball. They have made me the player who I am today. They have invested so much time into helping me become a better player. Staying after hours to help me improve my game. They have helped me realize my potential and helped me get rid of my self-doubt as a player. They always tell the truth and never sugar a coat thing, which has also helped me as a player to recognize my ability.