The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

April 12, 2013

Izzo-Brown to help U.S. team

MORGANTOWN — Nikki Izzo-Brown’s country has called and she has answered, taking a week off from practicing with her team to serve as an assistant coach at the U.S. Under-20 National Team training camp in Carson, Calif., from April 13 through April 20.

“For me, it’s all about being honored to be asked to go out and have anything to do with U.S. soccer,” Izzo-Brown said. “If I can help in any way, if they think I can be of value I will go and work hard for our country for under-20.”

This is nothing new for Izzo-Brown. She has served as an assistant at the U.S. Women’s National Team training camps in the U-18, U-20 and U-23 squads, and each times he does it’s a two-way street, for not only she lend her expertise to the team but she learns new approaches herself that she can use with the WVU team.

“It’s always good for me to go up there and see what our national team coaches are doing and what I can bring back,” she explained. “As a coach, you kind of get set in your ways and do things a certain way so it’s always good to go see what others are doing.”

And you never really know where you may find something that fits your style of coaching, your style of play or a certain player that you have.

“There are different ways to get the same thing across, a different angle,”Izzo-Brown explained. “It is good for me to hear someone else’s perspective or to get a different way to look at things. It’s so critical in a team sport because you have so many different kinds of athletes.”

And Izzo-Brown, of course, brings her coaching style, one that has been successful through the Big East years as WVU’s only women’s head soccer coach and that won the regular season title its first year in the Big 12.

“I think that they are recognizing I have been in the business for a long time and had some success at certain levels. They feel I can bring my experience and my success, and maybe a different look than somebody else,” she said.

Brown got her best look up close and personal last year when she took part in coaching the national team.

“I went with the 20s and Japan’s under 20 national team was there,” she said. “To see and be part of that was pretty exciting. To say it’s U.S. against Japan, a great moment to be in the trenches. You feel it is U.S. soccer against another country. It was pretty neat to experience something at that level.”

Izzo-Brown’s experience with the national team is important to her own players, many of whom have had national experience over the years.

“The nice thing is we have had athletes going in and out of the national programs at West Virginia so I can tell recruits and players that I have a really good perspective on the expectations the national teams have. It can help them make the national team,” she said.

This year there is a new U-20 head coach in Michelle French and she an Izzo-Brown will be trying to identify players and to develop players for the 2014 FIFA U-20 women’s World Cup, which will be held in Canada.

“I think there is no bigger honor than to represent your country and help them have success at a national level,” Izzo-Brown said, admitting that someday she would like to earn a national coaching job. “There’s always going to be a time and place where you have that kind of time commitment and be able to take on that responsibility. I would love to do it down the road.”

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Bob Herzel
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