Fitness big part of soccer's opening practices
LEBANON, Tenn. – Cumberland’s soccer teams began practice this week under third-year head coach Jeff Loucks, with the men returning 16 letterwinners and the women eight for the 2009 season.
Loucks main objective for the next two weeks is fitness, an aspect that has added an extra practice time each day for all players at this point.
“I’m a little disappointed with the level of fitness for the men and women, but that’s just about everywhere you go,” Loucks said. “In some ways it sets you back a little because we wanted them to come in fit, which allows us to maintain fitness and work on other things instead.
“We’re having to take a larger section of practice time to devote to fitness than we wanted to, but that’s why we’ve done an extra fitness session in the morning. All of the kids right now are doing three sessions a day. One is purely fitness and then the other two, the ball is out but there is a fitness component in it as well.”
Loucks set out to make his team faster and more athletic and as well as adding size in recruiting this past spring for the women’s team, and he says the Bulldogs should be better in both areas.
“On the women’s side we’re definitely more athletic and have better size. We’re looking for constant improvement. We’ve got more players and better players and they’re working real hard. We want to get a little better every year and I think we continue to do that with the women.”
The Cumberland men return a deep roster all over the field, including nine starters from last season’s 6-7-1 club. The Bulldogs lost one player for the season before camp started – junior Kempess Villafana – who tore his ACL in July playing for a team in Huntsville, Ala.
“On the guys side we’re a little further along. We’ve got more players, more guys back, and we’re very upperclassmen heavy. We’ve improved the last two years and now in my third season, the men aren’t looking for improvement. They’re looking to win something. If things go well and the injury bug doesn’t bite anymore than it already has, we should have a chance at that goal.”
The men are practicing each day from 8-9:30 a.m. and then again from 1-3:30 p.m., while the women practice everyday from 9:30 a.m.-noon and again from 3:30-5 p.m. Cumberland opens the season against Emmanual College on August 28 in the Golden Corral Classic at Union College in Barboursville, Ky.