ISU soccer’s ultimate goal, the process of achieving it


Sam Greene/Iowa State Daily

Sophomore forward Adalie Schmidt waits for a cross from her teammate down in the corner. Iowa State beat TCU 1-0 on Oct. 31, 2014 after scoring in the final minutes of the game.

Trey Alessio

All year ISU head soccer coach Tony Minatta has talked about working toward an “ultimate goal.”

Now that Big 12 play is right around the corner, it’s finally time for the ISU women’s soccer team to attempt to accomplish it.

The ultimate goal that the Cyclones strive for isn’t simple. It is full of layers and prongs.

The first and the main overarching prong is for the Cyclones to make the Big 12 tournament — something they missed out on last year.

“The ultimate goal for this particular season is to get ourselves back into the Big 12 tournament,” Minatta said. “I’m not unrealistic to think we can go from last to first — that’s happened before with teams. And do I feel that we have a team that can compete for that? Well, we’ve already proven that we can.”

The second prong is to compete for a full 90 minutes every game, something Minatta has preached from day one.

“We want everybody on the field coming out and giving it their all no matter the amount of minutes you’re given, as long as you make a positive impact on the field,” said junior Adalie Schmidt.

The final prong to the ultimate goal includes winning the weekend, which has been a reoccurring theme for Iowa State this season.

“[Win the weekend] is a huge thing,” said freshman Emily Steil. “When we’re on the road, we need points. So game by game, win the weekend, and with that it will all come together. Winning the weekend comes with working hard every single practice, and the results will come from there.”

In between each individual piece to the ultimate goal puzzle is the process, which comes primarily at practice for the Cyclones. But more than that, the process is about the mold of the ISU soccer program.

“It’s the process of learning how to win and how to be a consistently successful program,” Minatta said. “The first part of that is doing that on a game-by-game basis, but really the reality is it starts with practice. Last year, when I first took over, we didn’t have consistent performance in practice.”

Minatta also said an example of the process came during a low point in the season when North Dakota State scored its second goal of that game. The players looked dejected. Then sophomore Maribell Morales stepped up and scored a goal for Iowa State.

“They started pressing and we got the goal back and tied it up,” Minatta said. “And right then, you probably had one of the lowest points in our whole season, when we gave up the foul to give up the [penalty kick].”

Iowa State defeated No. 10 Pepperdine then descended into a slump, dropping three straight after losing in overtime at home against North Dakota State.

But Minatta said a high point in the process was the following Tuesday’s practice, where he said the players didn’t come out upset or depressed at all.

“That was one of the best practices we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Minatta said. “That carried over in the Drake game. It wasn’t great soccer, but we gritted it out, and we pushed and got the goals we needed. We got the win and got the shutout against a team that scored I think six goals in their last two games.

“To shut them out, it proved to us what we’re capable of even when we’re not at our best.”

Last season, Iowa State came out of Big 12 play with only one conference win, which came against Texas Christian. The Cyclones will begin this year’s Big 12 slate with the Horned Frogs.

“Every weekend you want to get points. It’s important that you walk away with some points from that weekend, and then you’ve got to take care of your home field,” Minatta said. “You don’t look past any opponent — especially in the Big 12. TCU is the next team up, and that’s who we’re focused in on right now.”

Then what is a measure of success for Iowa State this season? The team won one Big 12 game last year, but this season it is focused on results arising through process. 

“I know that we want to go into every game and we want to be in a position where we’re competing to win that game,” Minatta said. “Ultimately, I think if we get back to Big 12 tournament, as tough as this conference is to get out of, that’s one big step forward. Was this season successful because we beat a top-ten ranked team? No. It’s the process when you look back on it.”

“Are we in a better position at the end of this season than we were at the end of last season?” he said. “I think that’s the true measure of success.”

It’s all about that ultimate goal and the process of getting there.

“Our goal is talked about a lot, and the process of how we get there is big. It’s not always about the end result.” Steil said. “Obviously, we want to make the Big 12 tournament and we want to end in the top half of the Big 12. It’s honestly just about giving everything you have, having no regrets and working hard.”