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Supporter Q&A with City head coach Trevor James

01/15/2019, 8:30pm EST
By Detroit City FC

TREVOR JAMES OPENING REMARKS: GOOD EVENING, GUYS. AND FIRST OF ALL, THANK YOU SEAN MANN AND THANK YOU EVERYBODY FOR COMING OUT THIS EVENING AND DOING THIS. JUST WANTED TO SAY A BIG THANK YOU TO OWNERSHIP FOR GIVING ME THIS OPPORTUNITY, A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY, I FEEL, IN THE UNITED STATES. ALSO, THANKS TO THE SUPPORTER GROUPS AND ALL THOSE WHO SUPPORT THE CLUB BECAUSE I THINK WITHOUT YOU GUYS OBVIOUSLY IT WOULDN’T BE WHERE IT IS NOW. SO CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU BECAUSE YOU’VE ALSO GIVEN ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD THE CLUB. I WAS ATTRACTED TO IT FROM A DISTANCE. AS SEAN TOUCHED ON, I’VE WORKED IN A NUMBER OF COUNTRIES, I’VE WORKED IN THE UNITED STATES AT ALL LEVELS. BUT WHAT ATTRACTED ME TO THE CLUB, FROM A DISTANCE, WAS THE DIFFERENCE OF THIS CLUB TO, IF NOT ALL, THE MAJORITY OF CLUBS IN THE UNITED STATES. YOU KNOW, THE WAY IT WAS FORMED, THE WAY IT HAS GROWN, THE SUPPORTER GROUPS, THE WAY THE COMMUNITY HAS RALLIED AROUND EVERYTHING, REALLY – FROM THE GAMES TO THE SUPPORT OF WHAT THEY’RE DOING AND SO ON – TO GET TO THIS POINT. SO I’VE BEEN WATCHING FROM A DISTANCE, AND AS I SAID, I THINK IT’S UNIQUE. IT REMINDS ME OF CLUBS WHERE I GREW UP IN ENGLAND. I’VE BEEN OVER IN THE UNITED STATES FOR A LONG TIME, BUT I REMEMBER AS A CHILD I WOULD WATCH COMMUNITY CLUBS AND THEY WERE OWNED BY COMMITTEES OF GENTLEMEN LIKE THIS. THEY WOULD THEN BECOME OWNED BY THE SUPPORTERS. AND FOR 50 YEARS, 100 YEARS THEY’D BE IN EXISTENCE AND WOULD STILL BE COMMUNITY CLUBS. AND I FEEL LIKE THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU GUYS TO DO THAT HERE AS DETROIT CITY’S TEAM. SO I WANT TO THANK YOU ALL FOR THAT. TOUCHING ON WHAT’S AHEAD, OBVIOUSLY A LOT GOING ON NOW. WE ARE GOING TO CHANGE. IT IS A CHANGE FOR US TO GO INTO THE PROFESSIONAL RANKS. I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO DOING THAT. OBVIOUSLY WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO BE A BIT CREATIVE THIS YEAR AS WE GO FROM ONE SEASON TO ANOTHER SEASON OR ONE LEAGUE TO ANOTHER LEAGUE SO I’M SURE THERE WILL BE ONE OR TWO BUMPS IN THE ROAD, BUT HOPEFULLY WE’LL BE SUCCESSFUL AT THE END OF IT. I’M GOING TO DO MY BEST. MY WIFE IS AROUND HERE LOOKING FOR HOMES, SO I’VE GOT TO DO MY BEST. THANK YOU FOR ALL OF THE KIND COMMENTS, CERTAINLY NOT ONLY TONIGHT BUT FOR THE PAST COUPLE OF WEEKS I’VE RECEIVED A NUMBER OF MESSAGES – WHETHER IT BE TEXT MESSAGES OR EMAILS – FROM A NUMBER OF PEOPLE AROUND THE CLUB AND I REALLY DO APPRECIATE YOUR KIND WORDS.

QUESTION: ARE YOU GOING TO TWEET?

ANSWER: THAT’S STILL TO BE DETERMINED AT THIS TIME. BUT IF I DO, YOU’LL BE THE FIRST TO KNOW.

QUESTION: HOW’D YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT THE CUB?

ANSWER: I THINK I SAW IT THE FIRST TIME ON A TV SHOW. I SAW A TV PIECE ON THE NEWS ABOUT THE CLUB, AND I DON’T KNOW WHERE I WAS WHEN I SAW IT, BUT I DID SEE IT ON THE INTERNET. AND I THEN GOOGLED AND LOOKED AND SEARCHED FOR WHAT WAS GOING ON AND WHY IT WAS SO SUCCESSFUL AS A CLUB AND I FOLLOWED IT FROM THERE.

QUESTION: YOU’VE BEEN AROUND THE BIGGEST NAMES IN SOCCER. THE FANBASE HERE WITH DETROIT CITY IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST FANBASES IN ALL OF SOCCER IN TERMS OF THE PASSION AND WHAT THEY BRING. HOW MUCH DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THE FANBASE, HOW MUCH DID THAT PLAY A PART IN BRINGING YOU HERE AS WELL?

ANSWER: IT PLAYED A BIG PART. AS I SAID, WHEN YOU’RE LOOKING FROM A DISTANCE, AND THEN OBVIOUSLY RESEARCHING THE CLUB, IT’S A MASSIVE PART OF DETROIT CITY FC. SO IT PLAYED A BIG PART BECAUSE WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF THE CLUB, WITHOUT THE SUPPORTERS, OBVIOUSLY THE CLUB WOULDN’T BE AT THIS LEVEL AND GOING INTO A PROFESSIONAL LEVEL. SO I WAS VERY MUCH AWARE OF IT AND IT PLAYED A BIG PART, KNOWING THAT IT IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD THE CLUB BECAUSE IT HAS SUCH PASSIONATE SUPPORTERS.

QUESTION: WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THE NORTHERN GUARD SUPPORTER GROUP?

ANSWER: WELL, I HAVEN’T EXPERIENCED IT LIVE YET, SO THAT’S WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO. I’VE SEEN IT FROM A DISTANCE AND I’M VERY IMPRESSED WITH THE COMMITMENT AND SACRIFICE AND THE SUPPORT FROM THE NORTHERN GUARD. I SAY NOW THAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING IT LIVE, BUT I KNOW IF WE LOSE AGAINST ANN ARBOR THAT I PROBABLY DON’T WANT TO SEE IT.

QUESTION: YOU MENTIONED THAT ONE OF THE THINGS THAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE CLUB WAS THAT IT’S A COMMUNITY CLUB. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU, TO BE A COMMUNITY CLUB?

ANSWER: I GREW UP IN A CITY CALLED NORWICH. NORWICH CITY ARE NOW IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP, BUT WHEN I WAS A CHILD, THEY WERE UP AND DOWN IN THE SECOND DIVISION IN THE LOWER LEVELS. BUT IT WAS ALWAYS... EVERYTHING IN THE CITY WAS CONNECTED TO THE FOOTBALL CLUB, WHETHER IT WAS ANY BUSINESSES OR SPONSORS OR SHOPS; IT WAS A CONNECTION. EVERYBODY FOLLOWED THE FOOTBALL CLUB. AND I THINK THIS IS THE SAME HERE. I THINK THIS CLUB, AS IT GROWS, CAN GO WHEREVER YOU WANT IT GO. WHAT I FELT IS THAT THE COMMUNITY SUPPORTS THE CLUB. YOU GET A LOT OF CLUBS, OBVIOUSLY THE BIG CLUBS IN THE WORLD OF SOCCER – NOT JUST IN THIS COUNTRY – ARE CONTROLLED BY ONE VERY WEALTHY INDIVIDUAL WITH VERY LOW CONCERN OF THE SUPPORTERS OR THE SPONSORS. IT’S DIFFERENT; YOU DON’T GET THE COMMUNITY. AND I’VE WORKED AT SOME OF THESE CLUBS AND YOU DON’T GET THE COMMUNITY. YOU HAVE FANBASES, BUT THEY’LL COME AND GO. AND THEY’LL COME IF THERE’S NOTHING ELSE TO DO, OR IF THE WEATHER IS FINE. BUT WITH A COMMUNITY TEAM, YOU DON’T GET THAT. AND THAT’S WHAT ATTRACTED ME. I THINK THIS IS IT. WITH THE OWNERSHIP GROUP AND WHAT THEIR VISION IS... AND WITH THE FANS, YOU CAN REACH THEIR VISION BECAUSE THE FANS WILL DO IT FOR YOU.

QUESTION: WHAT IS YOUR COACHING PHILOSOPHY IN TERMS OF TACTICS? ARE YOU A POSSESSION-DRIVEN COACH OR ARE YOU ATTACK HEAVY?

ANSWER: WELL IT IS MORE POSSESSION-BASED, AND I DO TEND TO WANT TO PLAY FROM OUT OF THE BACK. BUT OBVIOUSLY YOU’VE GOT TO BE FLEXIBLE TO ADAPT TO WHERE THE GAME IS AND WHO YOUR OPPONENTS ARE OR THE STATE OF THE GAME OR WHERE YOU ARE AT ANY TIME. SO PHILOSOPHY-WISE, WE WILL BE TRYING TO PLAY. WE WILL BE TRYING TO PLAY THROUGH THE THIRDS AND THAT WILL BE THE CLUB’S PHILOSOPHY. WILL WE PLAY THAT WAY EVERY GAME? PROBABLY NOT. AS I IMAGINE, NOT ALL TEAMS WILL LET US DO THAT. SO WE WILL CHANGE IT A LITTLE BIT, BUT IT WILL ALWAYS BE TO GET BACK TO THAT PHILOSOPHY. SO IF WE HAVE TO CHANGE TO MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN, THAT’S WHAT WE WILL DO.

QUESTION: SO WOULD YOU COACH MORE OF A FOUR-PERSON DEFENSIVE SET OR A THREE-PERSON DEFENSE?

ANSWER: I WOULD DO BOTH, IF YOU’VE GOT THE PLAYERS. AND OBVIOUSLY THE PLAYERS WILL DECIDE WHAT YOU DO. BUT IF YOU CAN PLAY THREE BACK WITH TWO WINGBACKS AS SUCH, IT DOES GIVE YOU MORE PLAYERS IN FULL POSITIONS. BUT YOU KNOW, SOMETIMES YOU’VE GOT TO PLAY A BACK FOUR OR WHATEVER IS BEST FOR US. AGAIN, THE PHILOSOPHY IS TO PLAY AND TO ADJUST FOR WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO DO.

QUESTION: WHAT SKILLSET DO YOU HAVE THAT WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR TAKING THE CLUB TO THE NEXT LEVEL?

ANSWER: I THINK WITH EXPERIENCE, THAT’S THE WAY YOU GATHER INFORMATION ABOUT HOW TO MAKE PEOPLE REACT TO PLAY. I’VE SPECIALIZED IN COACHING FOR A LONG TIME AS A FIELD COACH AND I’VE ALSO HAD LONG SPELLS WITH MAN MANAGEMENT. SO I THINK YOU GET A MIXTURE OF THAT WITH MAN MANAGEMENT AND THE ABILITY TO COACH ON THE FIELD WILL BE THE MAIN TWO. BUT AGAIN, WITH SCOUTING, RECRUITING, IT TAKES A LOT OF WORK AND A LOT OF EXPERIENCE COVERED TO PUT THE WHOLE PACKAGE TOGETHER TO PUSH THE BUTTONS FOR EVERYBODY. I WOULD SAY ON THE FIELD STUFF AND PLAYER MANAGEMENT/MAN MANAGEMENT. I’VE WORKED WITH SOME VERY GOOD COACHES AND I’VE WORKED WITH SOME MANAGERS WHO WERE EXTREMELY GOOD MAN MANAGERS BUT MAYBE NOT THE BEST FIELD COACHES.

QUESTION: ON THE SUBJECT OF ONE LEAGUE TO ANOTHER, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO HANDLE THE TRANSITION FROM THE SUMMER SCHEDULE TO THE FALL SCHEDULE?

ANSWER: IT’S UNIQUE THIS YEAR. IT’S UNIQUE TO HAVE THIS. AS I SAID, WE’RE GOING TO BE CREATIVE IN HOW WE DO IT. WHAT I DON’T WANT TO DO IS TO HAVE A SQUAD IN THE SUMMER OF ALL COLLEGE PLAYERS AND THEN LOOK TO GET A SQUAD IN THE FALL THAT’S PROFESSIONAL PLAYERS. IF WE CAN INCLUDE THE FIRST GROUP OF PLAYERS AND TO INCLUDE EX-PROFESSIONALS OR MAYBE OUT OF WORK PROFESSIONALS TO PLAY IN THE FIRST SEASON, THEN HAVE THEM ON CONTRACT FOR THE FALL SEASON, THAT WOULD BE IDEAL. SO WHEN WE’RE PLAYING COLLEGE PLAYERS THIS SUMMER, WE’LL HAVE A BASE OF SOME PLAYERS TO MOVE TO THE PRO LEAGUE AND THEN WE’LL ADD A FEW OTHERS. SO I DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO DO ONE GROUP AND ANOTHER GROUP… CAN WE TAKE SOME PLAYERS WITH US? AND HOPEFULLY WE WILL. AND HOPEFULLY THE PLAYERS IN THE FIRST SEASON WILL PLAY HARD AND SIGN A CONTRACT FOR THE FALL SEASON.

QUESTION: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR THE YOUNGSTERS WHO ARE IN THE ROOM?

ANSWER: I WOULD SAY TO THE YOUNGSTERS HERE, GET OUT AND PLAY AND PRACTICE AND TRAIN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. I WOULD ALSO TRY TO DO WHATEVER YOU CAN DO AND WHATEVER YOU’RE GOOD AT WITH ONE FOOT, TRY TO BE AS GOOD WITH THE OTHER FOOT. I WAS VERY RIGHT-FOOTED AS A CHILD AND AS A FOOTBALLER, AND I HAD TO WORK TO BE ABLE TO BE FAIRLY GOOD ON MY LEFT SIDE. AND I MEAN THAT WITH EVERYTHING. SO IF YOU ALWAYS TURN TO THE RIGHT, TRY TO TURN TO THE LEFT. YOU WANT TO HAVE BALANCE AND YOU WANT TO BE ABLE TO PLAY AT A BETTER STANDARD WITH BOTH FEET. SO WHEN YOU'RE PRACTICING AND YOU’RE DOING DRILLS AND YOU’RE GOING AROUND CONES, CONCENTRATE AS MUCH WITH YOUR WEAKER SIDE AS YOU DO WITH YOUR STRONGER SIDE, BECAUSE THAT DOES MATTER. SO DON’T JUST THINK, ‘I CAN DO A CRYUFF TURN THAT WAY.’ DO A CRUYFF TURN THE OTHER WAY. DO A DRAG-BACK ONE WAY; DO A DRAG-BACK THE OTHER WAY. USE BOTH FEET.

QUESTION: HAVE YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO TALK TO THE VETERAN CITY PLAYERS YET?

ANSWER: YES I HAVE. I HAVE SPOKEN TO THREE OR FOUR OF THEM BY TELEPHONE. AND THIS EVENING, BEFORE THIS EVENT, WE HAD A MEETING WITH A GROUP OF ALUMNI AND CURRENT PLAYERS FROM PREVIOUS YEARS. I THINK THERE WERE FIVE OR SIX OF THEM HERE. SO I PICKED THEIR BRAINS A LITTLE BIT. THEY TOLD ME THE GOOD THINGS; THEY TOLD ME THE BAD THINGS. SO I WILL USE THEM AS A RESOURCE.

QUESTION: APART FROM TACTICS, WHEN A PLAYER PUTS ON THE CITY SHIRT, WHAT’S THE BIGGEST TRAIT YOU WANT THEM TO HAVE WHEN THEY GO ON THE FIELD?

ANSWER: YOU’VE GOT TO HAVE THE CHARACTER TO PLAY. YOU’VE GOT TO HAVE THE WORK RATE TO UNDERSTAND THAT WHEREVER YOU ARE, WHATEVER LEVEL YOU PLAY AT, YOU MUST HAVE THE WORK RATE TO PLAY FULL-ON. YOU CAN’T PLAY THIS GAME AND BE SUCCESSFUL WITHOUT IT. FOR A COACH, THAT’S NOT A HARD THING TO ASK. YET SOMETIMES, YOU HAVE TO GET PEOPLE TO DO IT IN DIFFERENT WAYS. BUT IT’S NOT A DIFFICULT THING TO ASK. ANYONE IN THIS ROOM, IF YOU’RE PLAYING A GAME, COULD WORK AS HARD AS THEY POSSIBLY COULD AND COULD RUN AS HARD AS THEY POSSIBLY COULD. SO IT’S NOT THAT YOU CAN’T DO IT; IT’S THAT YOU’RE NOT DOING IT OR THAT YOU’RE NOT PREPARED TO DO IT, AND THAT’S A CHARACTER FLAW. SO HOPEFULLY THOSE THINGS WILL BE ASSESSED IN TRAINING, PLAYER SELECTION AND SO ON. BUT IT’S A BIG THING BECAUSE WHEN YOU PUT THE SHIRT ON, YOU’RE PLAYING FOR OTHER PEOPLE. YOU’RE NOT JUST PLAYING FOR YOURSELF. YOU’RE PLAYING FOR THE CLUB; YOU’RE PLAYING FOR OWNERSHIP; YOU’RE PLAYING FOR THE SUPPORTERS; YOU’RE PLAYING FOR A CITY; YOU’RE PLAYING FOR A COACH, WHETHER YOU LIKE HIM OR YOU DON’T. AND YOU PLAY FOR YOURSELF – IF YOU LET YOURSELF DOWN, THERE’S NO ONE YOU CAN BLAME ON THAT. SO CHARACTER AND COMMITMENT WOULD BE THE WORDS.

QUESTION: WHAT’S YOUR DEFENSIVE PHILOSOPHY? WOULD YOU RATHER PRESS OR SIT BACK?

ANSWER: MY PREFERENCE IS TO DEFEND HIGH ON THE FIELD AND TRY TO PRESS AND TRY TO WIN THE BALL IN THE ATTACKING THIRD OF THE FIELD. THAT’S THE PREFERENCE. YOU’LL FIND THAT IF YOU’RE SUCCESSFUL, YOU’LL FIND THE BEST TEAMS WILL TRY TO PLAY OUT. YOU’LL FIND THAT EVEN THE MOST SUCCESSFUL TEAMS DON’T TRY TO PLAY OUT AND WILL KICK IT LONG AND PICK UP SECOND BALLS. SO SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO DROP BECAUSE YOU WANT TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO PLAY OUT. IF YOU CLOSE OUT YOUR PRESSURE TOO HIGH, THEY WON’T PLAY OUT. THEY’LL KICK IT. SO SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO BE SMARTER AND SAY, ‘WELL LET’S DROP OFF, LET’S BE A BIT DEEPER, AND LET THEM PLAY OUT AND NOW WE CAN GO AND SEAL IT.’

QUESTION: ON THE SIDELINE, DO YOU PREFER TRACKSUIT OR SUIT AND TIE?

ANSWER: THAT’S A GOOD QUESTION. I HAVEN’T ASKED MY WIFE YET. IT PROBABLY WILL DEPEND. IT ALL DEPENDS WHAT I’M WEARING IN THE FIRST GAME. IF WE WIN, THEN I’LL PROBABLY WEAR THAT THE SECOND GAME. AND IF WE LOSE, THEN I’LL PROBABLY CHANGE.

Tag(s): News