By: Collin Frazier
The 2018 season for Men’s Soccer was one that the team will look back on and learn
different lessons. The team ended the season with an unfortunate record of 5-11-1. However,
the past is in the past and Coach Andy Smyth and the team are ready to move forward.
Even with finishing the season fairly strong by shutting out the top two teams (Tiffin
University and Cedarville University) in the G-MAC, the biggest lesson learned by Coach Smyth
last season is working on the team chemistry on the field earlier to get the team all in the same
mindset by the time the regular season begins.
“We didn’t really get the team chemistry right at the start. We had people pulling in
different directions,” said Smyth
However, Smyth is optimistic on the chemistry improving this season. One way he is
working on team chemistry is creating bonding activities for the team to do.
Along with improving team chemistry, Smyth is hoping that improving the chemistry will
lead to a better performance on the soccer field, particularly improving defense.
“One of the other things we gotta make sure we do is improve on our defense. Our
defending, when we were on, was pretty good, but we didn’t tend to be on very often last year,” said Smyth.
However, with improvement, comes strength, and Smyth also believes this team has
many strengths to show on the field.
“I think we have some good, young talent. I think we got a lot of competition for offensive
positions,” Smyth commented. “I think we’re going to create some scoring opportunities. It’s just
a question of whether we can finish,”
Smyth believes that if the team runs a 4-2-3-1 (four defenders, two defensive midfielders, three offensive midfielders, and one striker) formation that the scoring opportunities will come to them, with some fluctuations in formation depending on the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.
With every new season comes a new group of upperclassmen that are ready to take the
helm and lead the athletes through the season. This season is no different.
“I think it’s a mature group,” Smyth said. “We spent a lot of time in the spring, helping
them develop leadership skills. I think between them all, they all have different attributes you
need in a leadership group. Some guys are strong in the weight room, some are strong in the
classroom, some guys [are] strong on the field, some guys are very verbal, some guys are ‘lead by example’ type.”
While the team has had some exhibition games earlier in the summer, the men’s soccer
season begins their actual season September 7th when they face off against Shepherd University (WV).