New coach expects a postseason chance

Eric Bell wants to bring a national championship to TCU in women’s soccer, and he plans to start by improving the team’s recruiting and defense.

The team’s new head coach said he had high hopes for his team and would not have come to TCU if he did not have a shot at winning, a lot.

“I was only going to leave Florida State unless I had a chance to win, and what I mean by winning is winning a national championship,” Bell said.

Bell coached for Florida State for six seasons and was the team’s associate head coach for the past four, before coming to TCU.

Florida State Head Coach Mark Krikorian described the loss of Bell for the Seminoles.

“He’s irreplaceable,” Krikorian said. “His footprint is all over the program.”

TCU Associate Athletics Director Kim Johnson said Bell’s strong performance at Florida State was one of the reasons TCU hired him. Florida State appeared in two College Cups during Bell’s six seasons at the school, including a trip to the national championship game in 2007. 

Krikorian said Bell’s strong recruiting was a key to the success of the Florida State program. Bell’s hard work and passion helped to make Florida State a hotbed for top recruits, he said.

Bell said being a hard worker also brings credibility to recruiting, which would lead to better recruits coming to TCU.

In addition to improving recruiting, Bell said he also hoped to improve the team’s defense.

TCU had a 1.65 goals against average in the whole 2011 season — last in the Mountain West Conference — while Florida State had a 0.83 goals against average during Bell’s six seasons with the Seminoles.

“The focus for me is not giving up goals,” he said.

But Bell’s coaching does not only apply to defense.

“When we have the ball, we want to pass the ball, move; make it an entertaining, free-flowing, fun-playing style,” he said.

TCU has never reached the College Cup in the 25 seasons the women’s soccer program has existed. But, Johnson said the program expects to reach the postseason in the near future.

Bell said TCU has made a commitment to women’s soccer with the building of the Jane Justin Field House in August 2010, and that commitment was a major factor in Bell’s decision to come to TCU.

“I wanted to make sure the administration was supporting me,” Bell said.

TCU’s move to the Big 12 Conference next year was another factor in Bell’s decision to come to TCU, he said.

Johnson said the team would have a more competitive schedule in upcoming seasons, which hopefully will lead to better teams at TCU.