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April 2, 2010 at 9:01 PM

Brian Schmetzer talks about ex-USL mate Roger Levesque

(On Roger’s transformation…)
“What I’ve seen over the course of the last 5-6 years that I’ve had Roger, he has really transformed himself from being just a very good USL player. (With the USL Sounders) I thought we ran things in a professional fashion. We tried to do the right things. We played at Qwest in the USL games, we trained Starfire, so there were a lot of similarities. There was a real step up (to MLS), and it was a learning curve for me as well about the professionalism of how you train and why you train, the heart monitors and the eating, and everything is definite a step up. I think Roger was a beneficiary of that. He could always run. That was always his strength. But could he have been a little stronger? A little meaner in the penalty box? Put on some bulk and some strength? Yes. We never did a lot of weight training with the USL Sounders. We didn’t have a gym at the Seahawks headquarters we could use. Stuff like that. I think for Roger, coming into a little higher level – he was able to stick for an entire year – really was a tremendous help to him as a player. And Sigi and us and everybody reaped the benefits of that with his goal in the Open Cup, and his play toward the end of last year was very consistent.”

(How much of it was mental?)
“He still likes to goof around every now and then. He’s still got a pretty youthful attitude. I think there’s going to be an April Fool’s joke at the Pike Place Market. Get some of the rookies to catch fish or something. He still has that side to him, but yeah he’s been a little more serious. He’s done a lot more training on some of the areas that he was deficient on because Sigi was very direct with him. I think that was a little bit different, because when I coaching Roger we always had such a good group of guys. And did I always demand the most out of them? Yeah, for the most part. But we were always fairly successful. There wasn’t that time where I had to chew on Roger on a daily basis. Now, he has to perform. And if he doesn’t, Sigi’s not going to put him in the 18. Sigi’s not going to start him. There’s that pressure because there are 24 guys that are pretty good on this team. And on the USL team, Roger was one of those top five guys. He knew it. I knew it. Adds to a little complacency sometimes.”
(How Roger’s missed chances impact the evaluation of his performance…)
“None of those two missed chances affected the outcome of the game. Had we lost the game 1-0 and Roger missed two sitters then certainly he would’ve been judged more harshly. So it was fortunate that the game was going our way, it could’ve been 2-0 earlier than the 42nd minute. For me, knowing Roger, the ball coming across on his left foot. Can he do his footwork right? Does he strike it with his right? That’s never been his bread and butter. That goal that he missed later, the header, that was his bread and butter. I mean he’s there, wide open, in the six-yard box, he’s got to bury that. That pushes the game well out of reach and gives him confidence.


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