Head Coach Jim Curtin and Sporting Director Earnie Stewart had their joint end of the season press conference Wednesday afternoon, and the two made it clear what their thoughts on 2017 was, as well as what to expect from the 2018 season.
Stewart opened with his thoughts on the 2017 season, and segued immediately into announcing Curtin would be back as coach of the Union in 2018. It bodes well for the Union organization, as Curtin saw success once again in 2017. Curtin became the first coach in team history to have multiple 10-plus win seasons, and has more than double the amount of home wins than the next Union coach. Curtin said he was very appreciative of Stewart bringing him back, and is looking forward to 2018.
"Earnie backed me during the hardest times of my young coaching career," Curtin said. "Earnie's a guy I trust and I believe in. A guy that showed a real belief in what I was about, saw more than just results. He saw a team that stuck together and continued to fight. Very grateful for the opportunity. The focus now is on 2018. Both Earnie and I want to win more than anybody. Still very confident in the roster we have, the players we have, the flexibility we now have going into the offseason. Now the work starts. We know we can achieve big things here."
Looking ahead to 2018, Curtin pinpointed the need to also continuing to develop the young talent the team has. The Union took great strides with its youth, especially when looking at players such as Jack Elliott and Marcus Epps. Curtin also pointed out the trajectory of players such as Derrick Jones and Auston Trusty are exactly where the Union expected them to be. These young players will be looked at to continue to impact games, and continuing the growth and development of these players will lead to success for the entire team in 2018.
"Every player goes through highs and lows, peaks and valleys in their development," Curtin said. "When you talk about development, there's on-field success and off-field success. It's all part of growth. It's an on-going thing. When you look at the roster moves and start to see, maybe, a little bit has been cleared now for a Trusty, for a Derrick, just by evaluating our roster. There are young players who are going to be coming and pushing. Look up the spine of the team, the experience that we have, with Andre, with Bedoya and Haris, with Sapong. That's a strong, exciting group, and with a couple pieces sprinkled in, we can rise quickly. And it will be the young guys that drive the roster as well."
Stewart and Curtin have both contributed to the core of the Union, building the foundation of success throughout the roster. The two will continue to do so, especially in the system based approach the two have been employing during the past few seasons. Finding those players that buy in to the system and want to be a part of that system based approach will be the players who have success within the organization.
"We want to be aggressive, home and away," Curtin said. "We're at our best when we're proactive, not reactive. We'll plan our offseason scouting, and it's well underway, and look forward to adding some exciting pieces for our fans next season."