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The Rock smells what's cooking
By Sean Maraj
For the millions and millions of the Rock's fans.
Head coach of the Western men's soccer team, Rock Basacco, has led the Mustangs to three national championship appearances and last year, brought home the gold. While watching his team warm up for practice, Basacco took the time to step into the spotlight and answer a few questions.
For the past four years the London native has coached the Mustang men's soccer team and his qualifications speak for themselves. "I have my 'A' licence through the Canadian Soccer Association, the highest level in Canada," Basacco said. "I've coached at every level, all the way to professional in the Canadian Soccer League."
While waiting for his team to suit up, Basacco proudly declared what he considered to be the most memorable moment in his soccer career. "Winning the national championship was a tremendous feeling. We've won provincial [titles], but to win something that says you're the best in the country, it's what athletes strive for," he said.
All coaches have their strengths and their weaknesses. Basacco, after a few moments of pondering, considered his strengths to be the ability to prepare his team for play. "To prepare the team to compete, that's where I think I've been effective selecting a squad and having them ready to play."
Basacco also pointed to some of the changes Western's soccer program has undergone in the past few years as a major factor in the team's success.
"We set up a training camp it's great in terms of giving us a chance to look at players," he said. "We also established a training program, an aerobic and anaerobic program. We also set up a Purple and White high school all-star game and showcased Western to the athletes." However, Basacco noted there was still work to be done to bring more attention to the team, especially with all their recent success.
When asked to name his greatest influences, Basacco was quick to respond. "One of my own coaches, Ugo DeCandido, who I played for, for many years," he said. "He had quite an influence on me in taking the plunge in the coaching world."
Basacco also named Glen Miller, technical director of the Ontario Soccer Association and eventual high director of the CSL as another major influence in his coaching career.
While he has been involved at almost every level of soccer, Basacco said he would be reluctant to leave the university level of the game. "I've been involved in many coaching environments. This is where I've had the most fun."
By this time in the interview, several members of the team began taking shots on the net. Balls went flying by as the question period slowly came to an end. Basacco looked over at his players before answering which talents are required by a soccer player in order to succeed.
"The ability to make the correct decision at the right time to see the game in a crucial situation and make a quick decision," he said.
In two weeks, Basacco will lead his Mustangs into the playoffs as Western attempts to capture the national gold for the second year in a row.