Sept. 1, 2007
by David Brauer, NIU Associate Director of Media Relations
Northern Illinois women's soccer coach Marci Miller Jobson truly lives separate soccer lives. Not only does she balance the building of a program and the responsibilities of being a head coach, but she has the unique perspective of being a member of the U.S. Women's World Cup team that begins play Sept. 11 in China.
Named to the U.S. team in mid-July as one of the squad's first 18 roster selections, Jobson was thrilled to get word that she will be donning the red, white and blue while competing in the most prestigious event her sport has to offer.
"Obviously it is a great honor to be named to the World Cup team," said Jobson at her selection. "It is something that I have been working for throughout my career and to play for the national team is a goal I've had since I was a kid. Playing on the World Cup team and representing the U.S. is a great honor. Everyone at NIU, the team, Paul [Jobson] and the coaches, and Jim Phillips, has been extremely supportive towards my ambition to attain this goal."
While the goal of making the team was realized after two years of preparation in residency camp with her teammates, the journey has created a lasting memory.
"Finding out that I was selected to the World Cup team was a very memorable experience, but being part of the team has been an even greater experience," said Jobson. "You are representing your country and when you put on the jersey and hear the national anthem it gives you chills because you realize that you are playing for the U.S. It is truly an awesome thing. Being part of this team and how we have come together, bonded and built cohesiveness is probably my greatest sporting moment."
Jobson, a native of St. Charles, recently played an exhibition match August 12 at Soldier Field as the U.S. rolled to a 6-1 victory over New Zealand. Three days later, her Huskies opened the 2007 season with their first practice.
Spend two weeks "behind the scenes" following the life of Jobson with a day-by-day account that followed her training with the U.S. team at Chicago's Toyota Park leading up to the team's exhibition match at Soldier Field, and preparing her own team at NIU for its upcoming season.
Sunday, August 5 - Jobson meets with her coaching staff including husband and associate head coach, Paul and assistant coach Chuck Codd at 8 a.m. at Starbucks to plan for the upcoming season. Among the topics covered are: sorting and distribution of equipment, making sure the players are eligible and cleared by the NCAA clearing house, and planning the preseason schedule. After the meeting each coach works to take care of their assigned duties. At 2 p.m., Jobson does an individual training session in DeKalb where U.S. National team assistant coach Brett Hall puts Jobson through a two-hour "light" session. Afterwards, Jobson goes home, has dinner and packs for her week in Chicago with the U.S. team. She wraps up the day by planning out the recruiting calls that need to be made.
Monday, August 6 - Jobson wakes up and heads to Starbucks, which she describes as "her favorite thing to do", and heads to Elburn to take the train into Chicago. Upon arriving in the city, Jobson goes to the team hotel and unpacks. She then meets up with her teammates and catches up with them. Jobson's roommate is Stephane Lopez, a 21-year-old player at the University of Portland. "It is kind of funny that I room with someone who is the same age as the girls I coach at NIU."
Lopez has some big news for her teammates, she's engaged, and shows everyone her engagement ring. Jobson also finds time during the evening to fulfill her duties as the editor of the Women's National Team newspaper, which serves as the squad's internal newsletter. "That involves putting together a bunch of cheesy quotes and pictures and fun notes," said Jobson.
At noon, Jobson and the U.S. National team heads for their training session at Toyota Park in preparation for their exhibition match against New Zealand in less than a week. The team trains against a team of 16-17 year olds boys and they joke that it will be a tough week. After the two-hour session, the team returns to the hotel for lunch. After lunch, Jobson heads back to her room to make recruiting calls and follow up on some prospects that she saw at a recent tournament in Iowa. "We are trying to shore up our recruiting class for next season," Jobson said as she made 8-10 calls that evening. After calling recruits, Marci calls husband Paul. "We usually get all the business stuff out of the way first and then we have a normal married conversation." She calls it a day around 11 p.m.
Tuesday, August 7 through Saturday, August 10 - Jobson and her teammates follow the schedule of a typical day starting with breakfast, a two to three hour training session at Toyota Park, lunch and meetings. During the late afternoon, the team has about two hours of free time. "That is when I make my calls to recruits and take care of the things I need to do involving NIU," said Jobson." The evening consists of dinner, more meetings and a bit of down time before lights out at 11 p.m. Saturday's schedule varies slightly in that the team heads to the match site, Soldier Field, to practice. That day there are an increased number of meetings with specialists, such as sleep specialist who describes how to adjust to the vastly different time zone in China, and random drug-testing as mandated by FIFA. With increased scrutiny being placed on athletes and performance-enhancing drugs, a doctor speaks to the team to make them aware of what supplements they can and cannot take. Additional time is spent on sorting out tickets for family and friends, which as a native of the Chicagoland area, Jobson has plenty of people who will be in attendance.
Sunday, August 12 - Game day. The day starts early with excitement and anticipation in the air. The team arrives at Soldier Field approximately two hours ahead of the match's start time. In the locker room, the team stays loose by listening to music and having fun. "It's exciting to see people filing into the stadium when you arrive," said Jobson. Warm-ups begin about an hour prior to kickoff and Jobson scans the seats to locate family, friends and members of her NIU team in the crowd. "It was great to see so many people there supporting me and to seeing some Marci Jobson posters was cool," said Jobson. Marci and her teammates then focus on the game as they go through warm-ups. The match itself is dominated by the U.S. to the tune of a 6-1 final outcome with Jobson seeing about 15 minutes of playing time. After the game, Jobson signs autographs for fans and visits with family, friends and her NIU team before heading back to the locker room. Afterwards, she goes to dinner with Paul and his family and returns back to DeKalb later that night.
Monday, August 13 - Jobson again puts her NIU coaching hat back on to prepare her squad for the opening of practice. "Monday was a long day of getting information packets printed and equipment together and doing all the little things that need to get done before practice starts," said Jobson. During the afternoon, Jobson takes 30 minutes out to conduct interviews with the Rockford Register-Star and ESPNU.com. After a long day of working on details with her assistant coaches, Marci and Paul found a couple hours of down time that evening to take a walk and watch television. "That is something that we really don't get much time to do," said Marci.
Tuesday, August 14 - Jobson gets to the office early and prepares for the first team meeting of the season. There, she discusses the team rules, introduces support staff and distributes equipment. While the players got their physicals, Marci dashed home to cook and prepare for the team dinner that night at the Jobson house. When she returned she met back up with the squad for the 2007 team photo. Jobson then went to do an individual running and fitness training session before returning home to host the team.
Wednesday, August 15 through Friday, August 17 - The Huskies begin their preseason regiment of morning fitness sessions and technical work by each position, followed by a set-play walkthroughs. After lunch and a mid day break, the team practices from 4-6 p.m. followed by dinner and meetings before wrapping up around 8:30 p.m. During the early afternoon, Jobson spends time on her own training, partnering with former Huskie standout Katie (Klaas) Eriksson on Wednesday and working with Hall on Thursday. Jobson evaluates the fitness of each player and whether they have passed their tests. If they do, they will be included on the trip to Florida. "Any player who passes their tests and gets their gear will go, but we want to make sure that they understand that making the trip is a reward," Jobson added.
Saturday, August 18 - Marci and her team go separate ways. Jobson heads to Los Angeles to train with the U.S. team while husband and associate head coach, Paul, and the rest of the coaches and team heads to Orlando for a week of training that includes two exhibition matches. Upon arrival in L.A., Marci gets settled in before a light training session with the U.S. squad. "We usually do some light running to get our legs back after travel," said Jobson.
Sunday, August 19 and beyond - Marci and her U.S. teammates begin more intense workouts and preparations for the World Cup, including a August 25 exhibition against Finland at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Beyond the work on the field, Jobson spends the next two weeks getting ready for the trip to China, including purchasing groceries and other travel necessities. In addition, she will continue to hit the recruiting trail by phone while balancing her life as U.S. national player and NIU head coach. On August 27, Jobson and the U.S. National team depart for China where they will spend the next month at the Women's World Cup.
Editor's Note: Follow Marci Miller Jobson at the World Cup in China on www.niuhuskies.com. The official website of Huskie athletics will feature a diary of Jobson's journey throughout the tournament.