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Posted: June 3, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Rising from the middle of the pack

Georgia Revolution under new leadership

After last season with the Georgia Revolution men, Robin Dixon went from assistant coach to head coach.

Early in his first season at the helm of the program, the Revolution are 1-2, not ideal, but too early to panic. Dixon is still implementing his personal coaching philosophies within the program.

“We have built the team a little bit differently than in years past. We have introduced some ex-pros into the group, they give us a little bit of experience,” Dixon said. “There’s a lot more communication. Levels of expectation are higher.”

Dixon added that he and his staff are trying to build the team to play a possession-oriented style.

“We’re improving in that regard,” Dixon said. “Each game I believe we have the majority of possessions, now turning that into goals is important. That’s the next step.”

“We need to be able to improve our ability to defend counterattacks,” Dixon said. “We try to play in the other team’s path, while at the same time that’s all great, but you have more stake behind you when you do that and that’s more dangerous.”

Dixon said that he wants his team to be competent on the ball and make sure that they have one eye on defending when they’re in possession.

As far as leadership goes from the former pro-soccer players to the amateur players, Dixon said that he could see the improvements on the field, in training and in their professionalism. Dixon said that now the players are able to verbalize their leadership in discussion and lead by example.

“That helps a lot when I have players that have been there, have done that, know what it takes, and they can show it through action on the field and training how to conduct yourself,” Dixon said.

The experience that has been added to the roster is improving the training and the standard of the training session.

“I believe that players in this environment are going to improve at a steadier rate,” Dixon said.

“For us, my goal is that we are the most improved team from the beginning of the season to the end, and I believe that if we achieve that we will be in the top four in the league,” Dixon said.

Currently, the Revolution is in the middle of the pack ranking 12th out of 26 in the South Region. A top four finish would put them in a four team playoff.

“I think by the end of the year if we’re in the top 4, there’s nobody we can’t beat,” Dixon said.

In order to reach that goal Dixon said that it’s about the players adhering to the philosophy that he’s trying to impart to the team. In terms of building, in terms of being able to have positional interchange and how they play in the flow of the game.

Dixon wants his team to be able to execute patterns of play without thinking about it. He said improving little details such as turning away from pressure, playing to a front foot of a player when in open space, rather than the back foot, which requires more action and may diminish the opportunity, is key.

“You go about it by consistently preaching it [Dixon’s philosophies] and working on patterns of play, working on technique,” Dixon said. “I think at this age in America this is where we lose development of our players because during college they have limited hours of being able to train.”

Sometimes players that age, between 19 and 21, think they’re at their peak, according to Dixon. He said he doesn’t want them to get complacent because there is still room to improve. Dixon said his players’ ages range from 19 to 32.

To maximize the time he gets with players and to get the best out of them, Dixon has cut down on the number of players practicing and scrimmaging. Dixon focuses more on the players that touch the pitch on game day.

“We’ve cut down those numbers. We’ve made it a bit more intense, and with a focus on technical development, and how that applies to how we want to play,” Dixon said.

The season is young and there are plenty of games to go. Dixon said that the roster as of now isn’t complete and that he’ll likely add some players in the coming weeks.

“I believe once we get our depth we can find out where we want to go,” Dixon said. “I think we’re very good through the middle. We need to improve on the wing positions, as well as wingback. That’s going to be players stepping up to the plate and improving or somebody is going to come in and fill those positions.”

Dixon, who also coaches at Norcross Soccer Academy, which is now going to be called USA Norcross, is anxious to see how his team develops.

“I’m just excited about this opportunity,” Dixon said. “I think we have a very good team, we just need to bring them together a little bit more and see how it goes. We get a couple of good results and feed on that confidence I think we’ll be a contender.”

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