Aug. 23, 2011
Louisville, Ky. -
Preseason. A time of pain and perseverance; of production and practice.
We started this year's preseason like any other. It started with the team cookout on August 3rd and started to train the next day. The first couple of days are known as Captains' Practices and are led by the upper classmen. It is a time of just playing soccer, having fun, getting everyone back together and helping the new guys adjust. It is basically a time to get everyone playing together before the coaches take over for the next four months.
Once the coaches got their hands on us, things became a little more structured. The intensity and focus, however, didn't change one bit. That is because those attributes were there even when the coaches weren't. As much as we got done on the field during that week of two-a-days, we didn't forget how to have fun on or off the field; sometimes at the expense of others.
Preseason is also a time to get used to a new campus for the freshman and transfers. One day, we had lunch as a team in the YUM! Center after the morning session. There's one thing about the YUM! Center, there is two of them. The biggest difference between them is the location. One is on campus maybe 100 hundred yards from our training the field. The other is downtown. Well, this being the first week on campus for the freshman, the mistake could be made between the two. Not only could it be made, it was made. Once everyone was gathered at lunch that day, we realized everyone was there except one person. Shaquille Hamilton. That's right, he rode his bike to the one downtown. Needless to say, he missed lunch that day.
The other result of preseason is fitness. Not just running up and down the field pointlessly, but getting game fit. The only way to do that is by playing games. We had our first game at St. Louis and came away with a 2-0 win with both goals from Colin Rolfe. It was a game where we had most of the possession but couldn't come away with more goals. Nonetheless, it was a good start. A week later we played the University of Michigan in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This was a bit tougher of a game physically after going through an entire week of two-a-days and it took us a little longer to get going. We settled down eventually and were again able to come away with a 2-0 win. This time the goals came from Chase Rodgers and Nick DeLeon.
Up next is a week of practice before the season opener against UCLA on Saturday. Should be a barn burner. We look forward to seeing all the fans there, remember to wear white, since the game is a white out.