Offseason training has started for soccer team
Play of freshmen will be crucial in fall
Published: Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 12:02
Even during these cold winter months, the Detroit Titans men's soccer team is working hard to prepare for the 2012 fall season.
"Preparation for next season began the day our season ended," said freshman midfielder Matt Ybarra.
The offseason schedule is very demanding. It consists of running at 6:45 a.m. on Mondays, weights in the afternoon on Tuesdays and Thursdays – along with practice those nights – and running at 6 a.m. and practice again at 2 p.m. on Fridays.
Along with team workouts, players said they work individually to take their game to the next level.
There is one specific thing the Titans are focusing on during their offseason, and this is strength.
"This is a major time of development, especially for the younger guys with weight training and conditioning," said Coach Nick Deren. "They become stronger to come back and play harder the upcoming year."
The offseason has been beneficial for freshmen like Ybarra.
"As a freshman, there is a huge transition from high school soccer to becoming a Division I athlete," he said. "I have to be game-fit and now have to try and hold my own against older and bigger players. Weights and conditioning are helping me get into the shape I need to be in to compete at a high level against the best athletes."
Deren said the play of his freshmen will be crucial.
"We have some younger players so building their core strength for tackles, jumping and shielding bigger players is important," he said.
Deren's concept of strength extends beyond the weight room to the team as a whole.
"These workouts help by building each other up and getting the best out of each other," he said. "Not only do they help players improve individually, but also as a group because they strengthen the bond of the team. Everyone plays together and for each other.
"We are one unified team."
Junior Pat Lepera agrees.
"During the season we are working together, but the offseason gives us time to improve on personal attributes," he said. "The work we put in now will carry over to our spring games and we need to stay in shape during the summer in order to be prepared and stronger for our fall season."
Deren hopes the workouts pay off.
"We are trying to change the culture and environment of this program in these offseason workouts," he said. "I've been pleased with how hard they work during training and I am pleased with their attitude and eagerness to bet better."