Ford Squabbles Hurt Harvard Soccer

Tensions that have been brewing all season between soccer coach George Ford and the varsity players have seriously hurt the team's performance on the playing field this year, many members of the soccer team said this week.

"At the beginning of the year Ford had almost no rapport with the team," one player said. He added, "This lack of communication with the coach, which has since been cleared up, meant that in the middle of the season we were still experimenting with positions and a style of play."

'Lack of Willingness'

After the 2-0 loss to Boston University on October 22, for example, the player said Ford threatened to move six starters down to the J.V. because of what he perceived as "a lack of willingness to play on the part of these team members."

Ford's threat prompted team members to call a meeting with the coach the day after the game, and some members of the team were prepared to quit the team if Ford followed through on the threat.

Mexican Standoff

"It was a crisis situation," another player recalled. "On the one side stood the players tired of Ford using the weapon of punishment to get us to perform--on the other side Ford, who we thought would never be willing to change his coaching style."

Ford says that "everything broiled up to a frustration at the meeting but it is all squared away now. My expectations for the season were much too high but since the meeting I have become more tolerant."

Ford called the criticisms by the team players "a lot of baloney" and said that the team members "have to learn that there is only one coach and he must be listened to."

But at the meeting, team members say, Ford was conciliatory and at the practice later that day the coach was open and tolerant.

'Unbelievable Job'

And players confirm that things have been looking up for the soccer team since the confrontation two weeks ago. Lyman Bullard said yesterday that Ford has done "an unbelievable job of changing the things that people were complaining about.

"Ford is struggling to understand American athletes and now seems to know that he has to build us up, not criticize us, for the games," Bullard added.

Soccer captain Geoff Hargadon said that since the meeting "The team is a lot looser." Hargadon added, "Ford has taken advantage of his coaching ability and everything is now cleared."