One year Georges Edeline, the soccer coach at George Washington University, found a scouting report of his team prepared by George Mason Coach Dick Broad. He could hardly believe what he saw.
"It was the most detailed, concise analysis of any team that I had ever seen," said Edeline, who is conservative when it comes to praising opponents. "He had everything down -- how the team is organized offensively and defensively, the tendencies of each individual, even the way I substitute. He knew everything, and that's scary, I tell you."
With his painstaking, meticulous and organized approach, Broad has in six years taken the George Mason soccer program from one that produced so-so records in NAIA competition to one that is among the leaders in the NCAA's Mid-Atlantic Region. The Patriots are 8-0-1 this season, and can take a large step toward realizing Broad's ambition of moving the program into national stature with a victory over Howard (7-1) today at 1 p.m. in Howard Stadium.
Howard, the top-ranked team in the region and seventh-ranked nationally before being upset by George Washington last week, long has been the standard for local soccer teams. But George Mason tied the Bison, 0-0, last year on the way to winning the Capital Collegiate Conference title and finished with a 10-4-3 record, best in the school's history.
Broad's reason for George Mason's success: he and his team work harder than anyone else, and will not discount the smallest detail.
Yesterday at practice, for instance, Broad had planted traffic cones about 10 yards inside the normal out-of-bounds lines. He did this, he said, because Howard has a smaller field than George Mason, and he wanted to get his team used to working inside a more restricted area.
As for the scouting reports, which often run six pages or more, cocaptain Scott Shiffert said: "We're very seldom surprised. Sometimes he's got things right down to how they put their shorts on."
Broad, 34, admits to being driven, highly demanding. "But we're not blessed with the superstars and high school all-Americas," he said.
Broad's teams are defensively strong (the Patriots did not yield a goal in conference play last season) and emphasize team play on offense.
"We work on fundamentals from the first day of practice," he said. "Maybe it's because I wasn't a natural athlete myself or an exceptional soccer player (at Princeton), I had to work harder to do things the right way. I guess I've always looked at the game in an analytical way, anyway. I always had to look for why a thing was done."