bleedCrimson.net: Walk us through the process that you went through in interviewing for the job and emerging as the top choice.
Freddy Delgado: Coach Blair stepped away in mid November and they named me the interim head coach specifically with the expectation that I was going to continue recruiting and continuing to monitor our students for their academic progress. We went through that whole process and right when the new year started is when we started the interview process and I was fortunate enough to be tabbed as the new coach. I’m very excited in moving forward. It was a nervous time but I’m very excited and very happy to be here in Las Cruces and to work with these fantastic young women.
bc.net: What are some of the things you identified during the interviewing process and also now as the head coach that are strengths or weaknesses and what are some goals you have for the program?
FD: One of the things I talked about was continuity. This past season we were 5-13-2 but we went into nine overtime games. I thought we had a very talented group. We just needed some things to fall our way and it didn’t. I think going forward we can still continue with the same type of style. We can still keep the same team cohesion. I’m familiar with the players that we have on the team. I’m familiar with their strengths and their weakness and also those of the conference. I’m familiar with the conference. The continuity was a big piece. Then to extend that to the recruits as well. We have a very good 2014 class. We have a very group of 2015 recruits as well and we knew that if I stayed here that we had a very good chance of keeping those recruits and so we’re really looking to take off from where we left off this past season and I think it’s going to be very positive going forward.
bc.net: What are some areas that you look at in the program, maybe resources or things that are already in place or things that you would like to see put in place that will help the program take that next step?
FD: I think we have a good base to be successful. When you look at the majority of the conference we have everything we need to be successful. There might be one or two schools out there that might have some things we don’t have and I think we can work on that to get there. Our budget is good, our administration is very good, the core group of players we have is very good. I mentioned the recruits we have for the next two years are very good and I think all of that will help us. Some areas, of course you want more. You always want to increase your travel budget. Although it’s sufficient, it’s good now, you can always improve in that area. We have a great facility. It opened up a year ago, it’s a great facility but I there are little things that we can do to improve it but right now I think it’s sufficient for us to be successful and for us to bring in recruits and to win games.
bc.net: Last year you were brought in as an assistant coach and to coach the offense. Are there any changes or tweaks that you will try to implement as the head coach?
FD: Of course there’s going to be some changes. Coach Blair gave me the opportunity to come in and work with the attackers and I think we made some progress. Not as much as I or the team would have liked but I do think we made progress. We’ll make some changes, we’ll tweak a few things to get more players into the box. To get more players into the attacking third. We’re also going to work more on the technical aspect to get more players confident in and around the goal. The overall scheme will stay mostly the same but there will be a tweak here or there.
bc.net: Since you’re stepping into the head coaching spot that leaves a vacancy in the assistant coaching spot. Are there some candidates that you’ve identified that you’d like to bring in?
FD: You always have in the back of your mind a couple people you’d like to bring in. I do have a few people. We’re going to look to bring in someone who has very good goal-keeping experience and also someone who brings a very good demeanor with the team, someone who connects with the players and also someone who connects with the rest of the coaching staff. We’re looking to bring someone in hopefully in March so they have an opportunity to work with us and get to know the players and we can get familiar with one another. An assistant coach at this level is invaluable so we have to make sure it’s the right person.
bc.net: You have the unique distinction as being the first head coach that has had previous head coaching experience. What advantage does that give you?
FD: It gives you confidence. When I was at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock I was under the guidance of quite a few very good coaches who had prepared me for that position but you don’t know until you’re actually in the head coaching position. I learned quite a bit over the five years that I was at UALR. I think that better prepares me for here overall. How to deal with players, how to deal with opposing teams and opposing coaches in preparation, it helps me as far as scheduling, it also helps with administration. Personal dealings within the community, local ties, all those things that I was learning at UALR. Now I feel more prepared for being here at New Mexico State.
bc.net: Following up on that, what would you say is the one thing that you were doing or did at UALR that you’ll change now that you’re head coach at New Mexico State.
FD: The first two years we were at UALR we had unprecedented success. We did very, very well. As a young coach and that was a young team in particular, I assumed that we had kind of gotten over the hump and we were going to continue the same kind of success. What I learned is that when you’re on top you have to push even harder. I think we can get to that point where we get over the hump and once we do we’re going to continue to keep our foot on the gas. We’re going to continue to work hard, we’re going to continue to bring in the best players we possibly can. We’re going to continue our work in the classroom, in the community, to do everything we can to elevate and keep us at the top.
bc.net: From an on the field standpoint what style of play will your teams bring?
FD: It’s a very attacking oriented style. It’s a possession type of play. We put a lot of emphasis on individual play and winning one v. one battles. The best defense is the best offense. We love to attack from every single position. The players have fun, the players are confident. It’s an attractive style. It’s a fun style to come watch and I think it’s going to be a very exciting time for the Las Cruces soccer community.
bc.net: I know you can’t comment on any specifics but you mentioned the 2014 recruiting class coming in here in a couple of weeks. Numbers-wise and numbers for certain positions what are you expecting to bring in?
FD: We have quite a few signed, we were able to keep all of our recruits that we had beforehand. It’s a very good group of players. You have an idea in your mind of where you envision those players but you don’t know 100 percent until they actually get here and get on campus how they mix in with the current group of players, how the current group of players respond and what roles and what holes we have to fill but I believe this group coming in has some of the best players within New Mexico and we have a couple players from the surrounding states. We have a very talented group of people, good students, they’re good people in the community. I think they’re going to make a definite impact next year.
bc.net: In terms of your overall roster coming back you have a very balanced distribution of players between the juniors, seniors and sophomores and obviously your freshmen class coming in. How much of an advantage is it to have that instead of having a whole bunch of seniors or a whole bunch of sophomores?
FD: It’s very good to have that balance. You don’t want all of your goal scoring and major contributors in one class. I think Coach Blair spread it out very well. We have a good group of juniors and a good group of sophomores so rising juniors and rising seniors that are going to do well. Our freshman class is very talented. This new group that’s coming in I think is going to gel very well but every day is going to be a battle and every day is going to be a competitive environment to see who is going to start, who earns playing time and I think the product on the field is going to show that.
bc.net: In terms of your spring schedule, what are some of the key dates that Aggie fans should be on the lookout for and what’s your strategy for the spring?
FD: We’re working in the weight room right now, we’re working on our fitness base for the month of January and February. We’ll start the spring season in late February/early March. We’ll train as a team in March and in April. We don’t have our spring schedule games in place just yet, those should be available within the next week. It’s going to be a time for us to improve individually, to give the players the confidence and the skill to perform to the best of their ability. It’ll be a time of learning, although I was the assistant coach, of learning my role now and our communication as far as a head coach to a player. We’re going to bring a new coach into the mix so we’re going to learn about that. Spring is about continuing where we left off, continuing to get better and preparing ourselves for a great WAC season next year.