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Houston Dash building tradition one habit at a time

Houston Dash Head Coach Randy Waldrum directs practice
Houston Dash Head Coach Randy Waldrum directs practice
Lou Roesch

Most expansion teams are not expected to be good in their first year, but most expansion teams are not the Houston Dash. The Houston Dynamo, parent club of the Dash, are one of the MLS' most prolific soccer powers and have set a high standard for excellence, a standard the Dash are eager to replicate.
Named the first expansion team of the National Women’s Soccer League, the Houston Dash barely have two weeks of preseason under their belt but to hear Head Coach Randy Waldrum speak, nothing less then an NWSL title would be disappointing.
“We don’t want to just be competitive. We want to win,” says Waldrum.
Unlike most expansion teams, the Dash are a mixture of veterans and draft picks many of whom have played for Coach Waldrum and are helping to make the transition simpler and the learning curve shorter.
“It’s a big advantage for us and that’s part of the reason why with the expansion draft and the college draft we went after some of the players we went after,” Waldrum explained. “Because quite a few of them have played for me in college or with U23 team so they kind of knew me and I knew them. I knew what their makeup was and what’s inside them, their competitiveness and their drive and also them knowing the system. We are going to try playing the same way here as we did with our national team. It’s made the transition a little bit smoother and a little bit quicker so the learning curve hasn’t taken a tremendous amount of time to implement what we are doing.”
The team got its first taste of action on Wednesday night against the Rice Lady Owls turning their hard work on the practice field to the test in their first scrimmage of the preseason. Despite a convincing 4-0 win, the women were back at it Thursday morning at Houston Sports Park.
Thursday’s workout continued the building familiarity and continuity as the ladies set their sights on opening night just three weeks away. Having players like Brittany Bock who played for Waldrum at the University of Notre Dame makes all the effort a little smoother and a little easier as the team moves into fine tuning it’s performances.
“Now it’s trying fine tune all the different phases, functionally working with the backs,” continued Waldrum. “And making sure we are all on the same page as a unit and then taking that same thing in midfield and trying to get that to work together and up front. But as far as our formation and our system, it’s a big advantage having those players in camp.”
And that advantage is spelled out in the player’s willingness to learn and be open to what Waldrum and his staff are doing in Houston; creating winning habits. One of those daily habits currently includes working on crossing and finishing at the end of nearly every practice. Once the team has been whittled down to the 20 player roster, the team will find themselves working on set pieces and corners something many teams only do once a week. The team spent more time working on finishing and talking about learning good habits.
“We try everyday in practice to do kind of crossing and finishing drill even if it’s not in the topic I want to be teaching that day. I just think it’s important. You can’t get enough of it. Do it regularly and it becomes a habit so you will see us do something pretty much everyday like crossing and finishing. As we get into our group of twenty you will see us spend time on set pieces a few times a week at the end of practice just because I think it’s important,” concluded Waldrum.
On Saturday morning at 10:a.m. CT, the Dash take the field once again testing themselves this time against the Texas A&M Lady Aggies. One more opportunity to show that they are more than just an expansion team.

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