By Aaron Sundermann
Just because the season is over it does not mean the grind is over for The University of Findlay men’s and women’s soccer teams.
Both the soccer programs had winning seasons this past fall as the men’s team went 9-8-1 while the women’s team went 10-6-3. Both teams ended their seasons losing in the GMAC quarterfinals to two nationally ranked teams.
“Overall it was a successful season,” men’s head coach Andy Smyth said. “We beat the team which won the conference twice.”
Smyth just finished his 34th year at the helm of the men’s soccer program and is looking to build on a promising-looking season for the team in the fall.
Michelle Rick came into the fall as the new head coach of the women’s program at UF and it turned out to be a successful one as she tallied ten wins under her belt and added a First-Team All-Region player with Ellie Tischler.
With the season all wrapped up, now begins arguably the essential aspect of any sport; the offseason.
“Most of the first half, we are indoors because of the weather,” Smyth said. “This limits what we can do, but also gives our coaches more time to instruct in small groups.”
This is a time for coaches to work on the small details of the game and give more one-on-one attention to players who are looking to expand their game to the next level in the offseason.
“(We’re) training four to five days a week as a team on the turf,” Rick said. “We spend some time training the principles of defending and attacking in-depth, as well as our identity as a team in and out of possession”.
With more time to work on the little details, both coaches are looking more into improving their players as well as working on their team playstyles in the spring rather than in the fall when they are constantly preparing for the next game ahead and have little time to waste.
There still is competition at hand however as both teams have scrimmages they participate in during the offseason.
“Ten scrimmages, spread over five-game dates, over five consecutive weeks,” Smyth said.
The women’s team also has five competition days they are allowed to use during the spring. During these dates, they are allowed to play however many games they want, but most of the time if they play more than one game on that given day the game times are shortened.
The women’s team also prides itself on the team atmosphere they have as a group.
“Bi-weekly meetings to focus on creating a championship culture, that everyone enjoys being a part of,” Rick said. “We also use these meetings to invite a few speakers to talk to the team as well as do some goal-setting prior to game days”.
Creating this culture now rather than starting later in the fall can help propel a team to a new level when it comes to competition season in the fall and the hunt for a championship begins.