Pre-Season Preparation With Midland University Mens Soccer

5 min read
FirstPoint USA are well represented at Midland University with Sam Blackman, Dovydas Vaskelis, Gary Giffin, and of course assistant coach, Craig Hughes. We took time to look at how their pre-season preparation was going. Gary Giffin #11 gave us a day in the life account of a Midland Soccer player and Coach Hughes gave us a match report from their clash with Iowa Central Tritons, who coincidentally, recently recruited former FirstPoint USA client Mitch Conning. Gary's Diary - Friday (day before the game) 7am Wake up - it's cool now however it's getting warm with weather heating up. Time for empty stomach running to make us eat a full breakfast after which will help us preform at higher levels in training that day. 8:15am Breakfast - usually scrambled egg sausage and potatoes and chocolate milk for me. 10am Training session (light) - couple small sided games, passing drills etc after training back to the university for lunch at 12. 12pm Lunch - all players meet for all activity as we do EVERYTHING as a team. At lunch, someone will normally be called up to sing for the freshman song, which is always a good laugh. After lunch we will have a team meeting on the game ahead and on the topic we have been focusing on during the week. We will go through set pieces, tactics etc. It's always interesting as the coaches make this team so professional. After the meeting some boys will do their own things and I take this time to hit the gym or go to the trainer who takes great care of us. The facilities at Midland are second to none. They really are different class from anything I've witnessed before. After the gym we would meet in locker room for our afternoon session, get our gear on and get the music going. Everyone is in high spirits and having a laugh. 4pm Training - all boys travel to training pitches as we have 8 of them watered and cut everyday. The afternoon session would usually consist of 11v11 games, working on our defensive strategy, which is class. Pre-season training always consists of running, so it's hard work. In this team, no one is left behind, everyone gets through it with the help of others, we are a TEAM! After training players will go to the training room for some treatment which they may require. As we're training in the heat, there are always blister problems. After that we all have dinner. 6pm Dinner time - all players will meet in the lobby for a meal. A freshman (1st year) has to sing at dinner. This is all a laugh and joke and where lads can just chill after a hard day of practice. Coach Craig Hughes match Report Midland UniversityWarriors 3-2 Iowa CentralTritons In Midland's first pre-season scrimmage they faced a very strong Iowa Central, in what was a fiercely competitive game. The Warriors were a little sluggish in the early part of the game and the defence were caught napping when they were caught on the counter attack with a long ball sending the Iowa Central striker through on goal who slotted the ball past keeper, Lewis Wilcox, to put The Tritonsin front. Midland responded straight away and created several chances, coming very close, through Wood and Craig. The Tritons had a couple of chances of their own to go further ahead with Mitch Conning, in particular, looking dangerous on the left. Eventually The Warriorsgot themselves back level, a corner delivered in by Nick Saunders was directed towards goal by Mishou, and fell to the feet of Harrison Rogers, who made no mistake from close range to make it 1-1 going into half time. After the interval The Warriorsstarted to take control of the game and possessed the ball well and they got their reward early in the half. An excellent build up move and a defence splitting pass by Alan Craig put Adam Wood through on goal, who rounded the keeper and slotted the ball into the net to make it 2-1 to The Warriors. The Tritons responded well and capitalised on a break away again, a shot from the edge of the box deflected favourably into the path on the Iowa Central striker who fired the ball past Wilcox to make it 2-2. The Warriors again responded and played some excellent build up soccer, creating several chances. They again got their reward in the 77th minute when a great team goal resulted in The Warriors 3rd goal. The move started all the way from the back with freshman goalkeeper Jeff Mekus, a great bit of link up play between Tanner Hoffman and Adam Wood resulted in the ball being cut back from Alan Craig who fired the ball high into the roof of the net. That was to be the winning goal with the game finishing 3-2. There is plenty to think about for the warriors and will certainly need to tidy a few things up as they go into the new season however some of the build up play and work rate was very encouraging. Another huge positive was that The Warriors gave 22 players a run out with several freshmen involved in the squad. A great exercise for both teams giving them much needed match sharpness before the season kicks off. We'd like to thank Coach Craig Hughes and Gary Giffin for their time during their busy schedule at Midland. We would also like to wish Craig, Gary, Sam, Dovydas (who has scored 4 goals in 2 other pre-season games) and Mitch at Iowa Central the best of luck for the season ahead.

You can read more thoughts on pre-season preparation from Coach Craig Hughes here.

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