The 2021 National Champion Santa Clara University Women’s soccer team
It was a season unlike any other for Jerry Smith, women’s soccer coach at Santa Clara University for 34 years. The COVID-19 pandemic kept his team in the county bubble for four months and entered the NCAA Tournament with only seven matches. Relying on remarkable team chemistry, grit and poise under pressure, SCU captured the school’s second national title with a win over top-ranked Florida State in penalty kicks. Smith looks back at the remarkable run, including what he called his worst halftime adjustment and salutes a roster that embraced the challenge to come back from Cary, North Carolina as champions.
Jerry Smith’s Broncos Overcome Adversity to win Women’s Soccer National Title
"We chose as a group to find silver linings and find the positive in whatever thing came our way....This year, there were so many things out of our control. We chose that and not everyone chooses that and that's credit to our players. For young people, it's often hard to find a silver lining when you have a setback. It's hard to find the positive when you feel like there are things going against you. Boy, living in Santa Clara County with COVID, it felt like there's an awful lot of things going against us here."
"It's really an opportunity for me to try and get better as a person, as a coach, as a human being and as a family member. I say it all the time. 'I'm not afraid to learn.' And so I'm using every opportunity that I can to learn something new. Everybody's on Zoom; everybody's on Facetime chats. I'm doing a lot of audio books. I'm trying to read from and hear everything I possibly can. It's a great opportunity to just grow."
"I believe we all have depression at certain times of our lives. I believe all have highs too high and lows too low and that's part of being a human being. It's how you deal with those and it's being able to talk to friends, family, teammates, coaches, co-workers and find a safe place where you can admit 'I'm not okay.' And that's what we hope that this documentary leads to."
Before becoming an Academy Award winning actor, Mahershala Ali was known as Mahershala Gilmore as a college basketball player at Saint Mary's. A cassette was found with Gilmore and the Gaels playing Santa Clara on Feb. 18, 1996.
"We had two and half minutes to talk. None of the coaches did for about two minutes and 20 seconds. And then I kind of realized what we needed to do. And I said to the team, 'Gentlemen, we need to score." And we broke and went out and ended up winning the game. So it just goes to show you how important coaching is. You have to be technically very sound."
"There's nights I have to work until 8 a.m. and then have my morning staff meeting with the Mudbugs at 8:45. So I have to go straight from the casino to the staff meeting and start my day like it never ended. Those are days you're not seeing correctly. Sometimes, you're sleep deprived and I'm asking myself, 'What are you doing here?' Am I seriously going to work insane hours, have no life outside these two jobs, just to try to make it, TRY to make it as a hockey broadcaster?"