The beginning of spring is approaching, which means the John Brown University’s soccer teams are training to get into mid-season form.
Although the soccer season does not begin until fall, the men’s and women’s soccer teams are training as if they were preparing for a regular season match. Members of each team spoke about the value of the offseason and the role it plays in reaching the goals the teams have in place for the coming season.
“Spring is a time to improve individual skills and develop each position to make the team stronger,” Marco Cardona, forward for the men’s soccer team, said.
Both teams are coming off seasons that ended in disappointment. The men’s team had the best regular season of Sooner Athletic Conference play the University has ever seen [8-1-0], but fell short in the semifinals of the SAC Conference Tournament.
After finishing the regular season at the top of the conference and then losing unexpectedly in the conference semifinals, the men’s soccer team is looking to find creative ways to improve on their strengths.
“The biggest challenge this year is to find creative ways to play our style of soccer to counter how opponents play us,” Douglas Oliveira, defenseman, said. “We must also continue to play great defense and keep up the hard work and intensity for 90 minutes because we have a target on our back now.”
Cardona also highlighted the youth of last year’s team, which had 14 freshmen. He said that the team gained valuable experience that they’re hopeful to build on this offseason.
“Because we’re not in a seasonof competition, the team has done a good job simulating the kind of
competition we will face during the season by staying focused and challenging one another in a positive way,” Cardona said. “We didn’t reach our goal last season, but I feel like it will happen this [coming] season.”
For the ladies, the season seemed to end in an even more dramatic way than the men’s.
“The past two seasons we were in the championship game against the same team, except last season hurt the most,” Samantha Weber, defenseman, said.
The women’s team lost against the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in the SAC conference last season after two overtimes and penalty kicks. The women’s soccer team have five core values that the program is rooted on: play for the glory of God, work for each other, compete for victory, don’t cut corners, do not cheat the hard work and be the best player possible each day.
Those core values are instilled in the members of team and motivate them to reach their goals each season. For the coming season, Weber mentioned that the team wants to win the SAC Conference Championship and make it to the NAIA National Tournament.
“Often times we are outmatched by talent, but we continually find a way to get the job done,” Weber said.