Head Coach Thomas Chestnutt with a new team but same goal

FIU Women's SoccerFIU Women's Soccer

Luis Diaz/ Contributing Writer

Just to explain what kind of head coach the Women’s Soccer team of FIU has, this grown man spends practice running around the field and works out with the team when they get off the field. This is a man that embodies practicing what he preaches.

But when asked about his players competing for a World Cup, he humbly admits that he is just happy to be a part of their journey. And even though this is the type of man that deserves endless recognition, that is the farthest thing from his mind going into this season after losing his leading goal scorer and facing certain adversity throughout the offseason.

“Every team is different. This is a new team and our goal remains to challenge for a conference title. That is no different this year,” said Thomas Chestnutt, head coach of the women’s team.

“Maybe we relied on Chelsea and Ashley to score us the goals but now we have a team ready to take the opportunity,” said Chestnutt.

Coach Chestnutt is never too proud to point the blame on himself and does so after an 8-8-2 record last season. But with a new team ready to learn his philosophy and way to play this game in a way that has earned Chestnutt multiple conference titles, the proper spelling of team has been evident throughout the offseason as opposed to the “I” last year’s team finagled into the word.

Practice can only say so much and these young players are still unproven. Also, according to their head coach, the advancement of this next woman up mentality won’t be properly measured until this team gets on the pitch and plays some games.

“You don’t know who’s going to be reliable, who’s going to be a go-to player, all those things come out in games. Some players rise to the occasion and some people shrivel up come game time,” Chestnutt said.

Under the helm of a man who’s won two conference titles in the last six years and has produced plenty of players who move on to play for their home country’s national soccer teams, when Thomas Chestnutt says his team will compete for the Conference USA Trophy, there had better be a spot open in the trophy case.