Porcella, 35, played defense for John Carroll and Loyola and spent two years on the U.S. Developmental Team from 1996-98. Earlier this year, she was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Greater Baltimore Chapter of US Lacrosse. She led John Carroll to back-to-back IAAM A Conference titles in 2007 and 2008 and was the All-Metro Coach of the Year in 2008.
Before heading to Germany, Porcella shared some thoughts about the Under-19 coaching experience.
What makes a good U-19 team?
Unselfishness. Willing to work with people that you’ve never worked with before. Coming together in a short amount of time. Having a common goal and acting out that common goal.
What do you enjoy the most about coaching this team?
I love strategy. I could talk shop all day, lacrosse. That’s the neat part of this that we get to try things, we get to work things out whereas with your high school team, you’re limited on what you can do, because you don’t have athletes up and down the field like you do on a select team like this. It’s just like, “All right, let’s go out and we’re going to try this zone today in the midfield, so you shift here, you shift there.” I just love the strategy and the concepts behind it all. For me personally, that’s what I enjoy most and just being a part of something that’s going to make history. Everybody wants to be a part of that. The 2011 Under-19 United States women’s lacrosse gold medal – that’s our goal and it would be awesome to see that happen.
What is your approach to coaching this team?
I kind of take it as any other team that I coach. I try to treat the girls with as much respect as possible and I always tell them, “If you act like an adult, I will treat you like an adult. If you want me to treat you like a kid, tell me you want to be treated like a kid by your actions.” I truly believe if you empower the kids with leadership and decision making as much as possible, they’re going to embrace it even more. Most of the stuff we do, we talk it out. “Hey, you drove to the right; you should have gone to the left. Why would you make that decision and what would you do differently next time?” as opposed to “You should have gone to the right!” and just start yelling. If they can make those decisions themselves and I don’t have to be screaming across the field, we’re all going to be better off.