The men’s soccer team played against the Cincinnati Bearcats Aug. 30, just days after the preseason preparation ended.
Head Coach Brad Ruzzo said they had “six days to prepare for opening night, to button up something and get some final details down.”
Their training did not start when classes came back into play, however; the Bears had been honing their skills and strengthening their bodies all summer.
“A lot of guys play on teams in the summer, and that’s their training,” senior goalkeeper JR DeRose said. “We are focusing on tactics and not just trying to keep taking hits.”
DeRose himself spent the summer recovering from a hip injury; his summer training was focused on getting back into shape for this season.
The summer training was important for the team, as they only had about 14 days of preseason conditioning. To make the most of this limited time together before the season kicked off, Ruzzo relied on a mix of training methods.
“Some of it is a big-picture thing, most of it has been geared towards Cincinnati,” Ruzzo said.
One of the big picture methods was to add a goalkeeper coach to the team, which DeRose credits for his improved performance on the pitch.
Looking forward, Ruzzo is not focused on training for individual teams as much as he is focused on creating tough, dedicated players who can last the 90-minute matches.
“You aren’t just gonna win games based on talent, you are gonna win games on heart and effort,” Ruzzo said.