This year’s camp was vastly different from years past for the University of Indianapolis men’s soccer team, as they added the reserve squad to their roster and welcomed the group of new students to the team. Beyond inducting these new members onto the team, the men also went through extensive training, practices and meetings leading up to the start of classes.
According to Associate Men’s Soccer Coach Shaun Mahoney, what helps the reserve squad come together is that they are able to support each other as a group, as they are going through the same trial of being new on campus.
“I think that obviously for us with the reserve team they’re all new students,” Mahoney said. “When you don’t have any returning players or players that have a lot of history with the program or experience with the demands of collegiate soccer, then there is a lot of teaching and a lot of learning that takes place. They’re doing a good job and we’ve got a really great group of young men. Young men that are UIndy guys and have the character, have the academic and athletic goals that we expect out of them here at UIndy. So I think that they’ve adapted well to that and they’re learning every day.”
Head Men’s Soccer Coach John Higgins said that there needed to be time set aside for the teams to get used to each other, and get aquainted with the idea of the reserve squad. This also helps the new reserve players to get up to speed with what is expected at this level.
“We get a couple of days right at the start of camp to do meetings, and I think that we about got it right this year just with the meetings and the topics in the meetings,” Higgins said. “I think we had a real nice agenda for the first few days to get everybody on the same page and I think that went well. Years past when we’ve only added five guys to the squad, we’ve really gotten through those meetings and known in the first week or two that those guys are up to speed just by seeing the older guys do it. We’ve had to put more into the meetings and I think it’s been worthwhile.”
Both Mahoney and Higgins agreed that as the season continues, support for the both teams is what can help get the team forward. Especially for the reserve squad as they approach their inaugural season.
According to sophomore forward James Jenkins, with the support of the UIndy community, the team will achieve big things this year.
“The way we are on and off the field, when we do come on the field, we’re going to have some really exciting play,” Jenkins said. “I think we have some really good attacking players this year and it’s going to be quite a spark. Just generally, the excitement in the way we play, the way we buzz around the pitch, is going to be something to watch out for. We’re going to be gelled; very compact and a very disciplined team. And we are going to be very exciting to watch out for.”
The team’s first game will be against Northern Michigan University in
Grand Rapids, Mich., the matchup will begin at 10 a.m. on Aug. 31.