I came into this preseason with mixed emotions. With so many seniors and close friends graduating last year, I couldn’t help but wonder just how successful we could be this year. However, I found myself motivated to lead this new crop of 18 freshmen through the rigorous preseason that has made this program so successful the past three years.
The first day of preseason always begins with the annual two-mile run. It is the first test of character, dedication, and ability of the freshmen, and perhaps one of the most defining moments of many of their careers as a Dayton Flyer men’s soccer player. The returning players impressed, showing that we were all prepared and ready to step into the massive holes that the graduating seniors left. A fair number of freshmen gave a good first impression by completing the test in the allowed 12 minutes, and gave signs of a player capable of becoming a successful member of the team.
This grueling test sets the standard for the hard work and endless hours of training that we will complete the rest of the week. The rest of the first day consisted of a pool/lift session, technical training session, tactical training session, and an intrasquad scrimmage.
Throughout the day, everyone competed in various competitions and games in order to win points towards the coveted Red Jersey, which is awarded to the player at the end of preseason who shows the greatest fitness, determination, and desire for success.
Personally, the highlight of the first day was the scrimmage on Baujan Field. It is such a special occasion whenever we get to play on our field. It was a chance for all of the new freshmen to prove themselves right away in a game situation. It was amazing.
The game gave the coaches and players a good look at how the team would gel and begin to form a new identity. With so many new faces, it was our immediate focus and goal to begin learning the ins and outs of each other’s unique abilities and begin to define ourselves as a team.
Day one was an incredible learning experience and emotional time, as it gave everyone a sneak peek of how the season will pan out over the next few months.
After fighting through the anticipation and nervousness of the first day of preseason, day two started bright and early back on the track. The Flyer Fitness Challenge was the test; perhaps one of the most grueling physical and psychological fitness tests in Division I soccer.
The test pushes everyone to limits they didn’t know existed and beyond. I found that the experience of three preseasons and the preparation that I had completed during the summer really prepared me for the test, and I was able to complete the test in first place.
I am certainly not the most fit player on the team, but as I explained to all my teammates, determination and mental strength helped me push through the physical and mental barriers.
The rest of the day was filled with practice sessions, which focused on dribbling, passing/receiving, and team shaping. We had a bit of break from training however, as we all got to put on our game jerseys for the first time and have team photos on Baujan. This is always an entertaining event, as everyone is excited to pull on the game jerseys for the first time and feel introduced to the community as the 2010 Dayton Flyers Men’s Soccer team. Again, this was a major step in building our new team’s identity; a start to new and hopefully success things.
To conclude our second day of preseason, the coaches treated the team to a round of bowling at Capri Lanes. As is the case with almost everything in preseason, the best bowlers were rewarded points toward the Red Jersey.
With two days down and yet a better understanding of how the team will unfold, everyone went to bed knowing that each day to come would present another opportunity for individual and collective growth, which has been established as our main goal.