“I Want To See Passion” – Republic FC Head Coach Mark Briggs Demands More Out Of His Players
Saturday evening, the Sacramento Republic FC suffered their first loss of the season, falling 1-0 to LA Galaxy II in Los Angeles. Tuesday morning at training, a very intense Mark Briggs demanded more intensity, passion and effort from his club.
“It’s not good enough to go out on the field and not represent this badge and this club with every single ounce of effort you have inside your body,” Briggs told members of the media, “We’re going to win games, we’re going to lose games. But I can’t accept going out on the field and giving 70 percent”.
Very passionate himself, Briggs can be heard loudly instructing his players, both during training and on the sidelines of matches. But the first-year Republic coach wants more communication and accountability between his players.
“In training there was an argument between two players – I don’t mind that. I want to see passion. I want to see that this matters to people. It’s not ok to lose a game and I don’t think it hurts (us) enough when we lose.”
Captain and midfielder Drew Skundrich echoed much of his coach’s message, saying it’s on the players to correct those issues.
“We don’t have zero accountability, but we don’t have enough yet. That’s on us as players to keep ourselves accountable. It’s not until we start taking responsibility for our actions, and what we do on the field, that we get to the level we need to be at.”
Just over a week ago, after the season resuming with Sacramento’s 3-3 draw with Tacoma, Briggs told the media that he knows his club can score, and should be scoring, three or more goals a game. Since then, the Republic have failed to convert an alarming amount of chances, with just one goal in 180 minutes.
“A defender, a goal keeper and a defensive midfield player (are) judged by the ball not going in our goal. Attacking players are judged on the ball going in the opposition’s goal. That’s (their) job,” explained Briggs, “There has to be accountability. People have to be held to a standard. If you’re not doing your job, you have to be told, not just by me, by your teammates, because it affects everyone if you’re not putting the ball in the back of the net”.
“Whether I’m wearing the captains armband, it doesn’t really matter,” added Skundrich, “everyone needs to be a leader out there. If you see someone not doing their job you need to call them out. We need to have that respect for one another…”.
Before the interviews, media witnessed the end of training where the Republic were emphasizing finishing chances and pressing high up the field in their opponent’s defensive third. It’s not a new strategy for Briggs, who enjoys an aggressive and attacking style of play, but he admits the execution has not be there.
“I don’t think we are being aggressive enough – when you put pressure on teams…if I run to you and I stay two yards away from you, the pressure is a waste of time. I feel like we’ve been getting there, but allowing people to do what they want with the ball still.”
Briggs continued, his eyes bright, clapping his hands to emphasize his message, “We have to get there and we have to hit people! Then you’ll start to see us getting the ball in dangerous areas and dominating teams in their own half”.
Wednesday, Sacramento hosts Orange County FC, who are coming off of a big win over Phoenix Rising FC over the weekend. Despite only conceding one goal in the last two matches, Skundrich isn’t satisfied with anything but a clean sheet.
“I hate giving up goals, whether it’s one in two games, it doesn’t matter to me. I can’t stand giving up goals. I want to keep a zero on the board for the opponents every game – if they have a zero, it’s either a tie or a win. That’s really important to me.”
Briggs expressed the club’s excitement for the match against one of the top clubs in the USL Championship, “It’s going to be a difficult game for us. But I said to the players – these are the games you want to play in. You want to play against good teams, the better players in the league, and you want to show what you are capable of doing”.
Kickoff for Wednesday’s match is scheduled for 8 pm from Papa Murphy’s Park.