Tab Ramos Q&A
April 23, 2013
NC State soccer alum Tab Ramos coached the United States U-20 men's national team to an appearance in the CONCACAF championship last month, and is busy preparing for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, slated for June 21 in Turkey. The 2012 inductee into the NC State Athletic Hall of Fame took time out of his schedule this week to talk to GoPack.com about his experiences.
GoPack.com: Has your playing experience during your time at NC State influenced your coaching style with the U-20 team?
Tab Ramos: Absolutely it has. (Former NC State head coach) George Tarantini was the type of coach that wanted us to go forward aggressively, outscoring opponents. We have that same philosophy with the U-20 team. We're very aggressive and free flowing. We try to push forward with a Denver Nuggets up-and-down kind of style. I drew on my overall experience at State, because I liked the type of soccer that we play there.
GoPack: You were able to present the game ball at Dail Soccer Stadium when you returned for the Hall of Fame induction, even though you didn't have much time to stick around with the induction taking place across the street, what was your take on the current Wolfpack soccer team?
Ramos: I met with the players the day before, so I had to chance to talk with some of them. Coach Findley recruits very skillful, talented players. It's only a matter of time before that team is one of the elites in the ACC.
GoPack: You took over the U-20 team in a situation that required significant improvement in a short time frame. Do you see any similarities between your position and Coach Findley's?
Ramos: We have similar challenges, we're both in situations where learning on the job is important. No matter how much experience you have, the goal is to try to win the games. You try to implement your philosophy while paying attention to the things that give you the best opportunity to win. Coach Findley took over a program that had been struggling, and he had to make changes fast. I took over a U-20 team that hadn't qualified, and we had a year to fix what had gone wrong before. I think we're on very similar paths. Fortunately, we were able to get the job done, and Coach Findley has the program moving in the right direction.
GoPack: Do you continue to follow NC State soccer, or keep in contact with the team?
Ramos: I follow the team quite a bit, and also Wolfpack sports in general. I'm always available for coach and the team, for anything they need. He can use me as a resource any time.
GoPack: What are some of the challenges you've faced in your role as the U-20 head coach?
Ramos: It can be difficult dealing with the different dynamics of having college, pro, and high school players coming from different environments. The professional players have obligations with their teams, and sometimes can only come in occasionally. I can go from camp to camp not knowing necessarily what group I'm going to get. I'm working with a long depth chart a lot of times. We faced that by going to Mexico without necessarily having our best team available.
GoPack: You took the U-20 team to the CONCACAF final in Mexico, what was that experience like?
Ramos: Part of my job with the U-20 national team is not just winning games. We'd love to get that game back, but our player development is important. We have to prepare players for their move to the senior national team when that time comes. With the work we accomplished, playing in that game, and having that experience, I think those players are a lot more prepared than they were before. We hope to get back to that stage and go win it the next time.