Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Young men’s soccer team prepares for new season

Assistant men’s soccer coach Joe Sagar runs his goalkeepers through warm up drills to help them prepare for the upcoming game. Photo by Jordyn Strange

With the team being predominantly underclassmen, the returning members of the Augustana men’s soccer team are ready to give the new players a taste of what college soccer is like in their first couple regular season games.
Although these back-to-back games against Olivet College and Adrian College are non-conference games, the upperclassmen have advised the younger players to exert the same amount of energy and intensity as they would in a CCIW game. Both team captains, senior Grant Bracken and junior Jackson McKearnan, have been helping the new players in their transition from their high school to their college soccer careers.
“It’s a quick learning curve,” Bracken said. “It’s important for the younger kids to get involved right away, whether that’s seeing a starting position or some type of playing time in the earlier games. When we get into conference, it’s a type of soccer they’ve never experienced before.”
The full transition will not settle in until the new players experience their first CCIW games. McKearnan emphasized how physical and intense the CCIW conference is with men’s soccer.
“Physicality and speed of play are basically the two jumps from high school to college soccer,” McKearnan said. “Getting the ball of your foot quicker and being ready to get hit are the two main things we talk about a lot.”
During the pre-season,  the team spent a couple of weeks in Spain and Italy in order to play against semi-professional teams. Head coach, Michael Regan, thinks this was very helpful for improving teamwork and skills. The freshmen did not attend, but Regan believes they have been blending well with the upperclassmen.
One of Regan’s mottos for the team is to “stick together” in order to have good, quality outcomes. He is confident that they will have a successful season due to the team’s focus on the same goals
The team’s overall goal for the season is to get a top four finish in conference. None of the current soccer players have participated in the conference playoffs, and they want to show how they have improved more throughout the years.
“We’re still rebuilding our program, but that’s the exciting part,” Regan said. “They know they can go out and express themselves and work hard for each other.”
The team will play another non-conference game against Aurora University Friday, September 8 in Aurora.

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Young men’s soccer team prepares for new season