Women’s soccer coach Juan Pablo Favero proud of team growth


Photo courtesy of Jose Juarez

Oakland came home winners on the road to championships on Oct. 27. They won their game in Detroit against Detroit Mercy 3-2, which kicked off their journey to the 2021 Horizon League Championship.

The Horizon League Championship was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In the semifinals, Oakland went up against Northern Kentucky University (NKU) on Nov. 4. The win against NKU gained Oakland their spot in the Horizon League Championship Finals against Milwaukee — making for Oakland’s first appearance in the finals since 2015 in their victory against Wright State.

While the championship game seemed to be a repeat of what happened during the season, Head Coach Juan Pablo Favero said he had no issues with how the team prepared.

“Coaches can adjust teams and can have some different tactical things they can do,” Favero said. “In the semi final against NKU, we had such a good performance and regular season against them. We are really proud of our team’s approach. It was a really professional approach, and the first result wasn’t going to guarantee the same result. We made it the result that it was with our focus and our quality play.” 

Favero praised Milwaukee for their dominance in the Horizon League in recent years.

“Milwaukee is a team that has been very successful in this league even before Oakland joined the Horizon League,” Favero said. “They have been the dominant team. It is always a challenging game. They are good at what they do.”

Favero talked about the difference in his team’s play in the non-conference schedule and in conference play.

“It’s a tale of two seasons within a season,” Favero said. “We started with our record being honestly not reflective of what our team deserved or how we were playing. But with the effort I thought we deserved was better in the first eight games than what that yielded. The second part there was an incredible turnaround in contrast, and credit [goes to the] girls obviously because most teams would feel so discouraged and deflated from those results, and wouldn’t have the mental strength to turn it around.” 

This is Coach Favero’s first year taking the women’s soccer team to the Horizon League Championship game since being named head coach in 2017. As years have passed, more milestones for the team and individual players have been hit. The goals have always remained the same: win championships and go to the NCAA tournament.

Favero talked about what to expect from the team next season.

“What we have to focus on more importantly than the goals is the process,” Favero said. “What do we do to make a jump? So we are trying to have a player-focus in terms of right now. This is a good semester, an opportunity to grow, improve and invest in our players and help them close their individual gaps — their performance gaps, from the opposition of strengths because we have a talented team — great soccer players, great athletes, great team overall.” 

He continued on saying, “The gap is a lot smaller. This last jump is the hardest. So what do we do as individuals and as a team to close that gap? So that focus is growth. Strengthening our areas that are good. And closing the gap in also the areas that are growth edges that could have a maximum impact in our individual and team performance next year, and that is true of us as coaches too. We have to be introspective and look at the things we need to do better. Spring is a great time for us to improve and experiment with things tactically.”