Blood, sweat, and tears. These are the components of anything in your life that you work towards with a burning passion. Whether it be a career, school, financial, or any other goal, these components will undoubtedly play a part. Nowhere is this more true than in athletics. Especially college athletics. The role of a student athlete encompasses so much, that to achieve anything in the classroom, on the field, or in social circles, one must constantly give 100%.
I play D3 soccer and it may not be D1 or an academy of any sort, but for me and everyone else on the team and in the league, it is just as serious as anything else. We work every single day to achieve our goal of a national tittle and we have no doubt in our ability to win it. Right now we are 6 games into the league season so I will have to inform you of how we are doing so far. But in this little mini weekly series I am starting I will chronicle the ups and downs of our season. Give an inside look as to what goes on in a college soccer team, in terms of on the field and off of it. And hopefully by the end of the season, be writing about how great it feels to win a national tittle.
So as I said we are 6 games into the league season. There are 9 teams in the league and currently we sit in second places on 12 points and a record of 4 wins and 2 losses. The first place team has 21 points and have won every game, but have played one more than us. 3rd places also has 12 points, meaning we are just ahead on goal difference, 4th place has 10 points, 5th with 8 points, 6th with 7 points, 7th and 8th place have 6 points, and at the bottom is a team sitting with 0 points so far.
Our biggest strength so far has been our defense. We have 4 clean sheets from our 6 games which has been a huge part of our success. A solid defense is the foundation any team who wants to win tittles needs. Our offense is doing well but it could be better. We have scored 12 goals from the 6 games and have not been shut out once. So we are averaging 2 goals scored a game while only averaging .66 goals conceded per game. Those are very encouraging signs however there is still a feeling that we need to be scoring more often. In the 2 games have lost this season both times we conceded 2 goals. So the fact that we can’t outscore opposition when they are only scoring 2 goals is not good. We need to be able score more than 1 or 2 goals a game because it is not realistic to expect a defensive shutdown every single game. This inability to score enough goals was something which the coaches recognized after our defeat last weekend. We lost 2-1 to a team we really shouldn’t have lost to. We started the game poorly, conceding within the first 10 minutes but after about 20 minuets we worked our way into the game and then equalized before halftime. It was a free kick from the about 30 yards out on the left side. Our center mid just floated a ball in and somehow our other center mid got free for a volley. From the start of the second half we looked the most dangerous however they once again scored early in the half, leaving us about 35 minutes to go for an equalizer. We attacked and attacked and they were defending in their half the whole rest of the game but we could not get that goal we so desperately aimed for.
As I mentioned before, the coaches were looking to change things after that game, and even during it. Our captain striker and top scorer was subbed out for the majority of the second half due to him not trying to or maybe not being able to pressure the opposition back line when they were passing in the back. Our pressing game was very off and we had a huge disconnect between the strikers pressing and the midfield. As the strikers closed down the defense we would either be split or passed around as they always had a center mid checking into the hole between our midfield and forward line. This caused frustration for the forwards, myself being included in that category, and that is why the coaches made the change of sacrificing one of our best players, if he wasn’t going to be offering the pressing threat we needed. So that game didn’t end how we wanted it to so that prompted even more changes from the coaches. All season we had been playing a 4-4-2 but we started practicing in a 3-1-4-2. I had previously been a striker but in this new system I have been playing as an outside mid. I am not completely comfortable in the new position but I am adapting and I feel like I am able to have a positive impact on our play from the wide areas. It is mostly my defensive positioning I am not so sure about. The defenders behind me have done a good job of coaching me on where to go but I still need improvement.
We played our first game with this new system yesterday and we won 1-0 in overtime. It wasn’t a league game but we still had to take it seriously because it could affect us at the end of the season. We did well and created chances but we were’t clinical enough. The opposition also didn’t seem to be able to create much however I will wait to see how we play against better opposition before I truly make an assessment on this formation. The games are coming quickly as we have 2 in the next 5 days. We need to keep a consistent run of results together if we want to start separating from the rest of the pack and catching up with the leaders. I’ll be giving another update within the next few days. If there is anything in particular you would like me to discuss let me know. Thanks for reading!