CHARLESTON, S.C. – The spring is hardly an offseason for head coach Christian Michner and his College of Charleston women’s soccer team. Though the bulk of their yearly activities transpire in the fall, Michner trains his side rigorously and scrimmages other teams during the spring session in order to ensure his team enters the fall fit and ready to play.
Just one day removed from the first day of spring classes, the team took its first fitness test on Jan. 10 which ignited a spring training regimen focused on both the fitness and tactical sides of the game.
Throughout the month of January, sports-performance and fitness sessions began at 6:30 a.m. twice a week and were followed by small-group training sessions in the late-morning to afternoon hours. Michner also engaged his team in leadership and teamwork exercises to grow the group together as a unit.
As January gave way to February, the small-group trainings yielded to full-team sessions at Patriots Point while the fitness and team-building exercises intensified.
“Overall, our team aura has been fantastic,” said Michner. “They have come to each training session ready to compete and play with positive attitude and mentality. Steve [Bamel], Amber [Manor] and Jarrod [Burton] (of the CofC Sports Performance Department) have really been focusing on building a solid fitness foundation, and we are certainly going to continue to build off of that.
“We hope to continue raising the bar and pushing our players to levels that will develop them individually both on and off the field. They have stepped up, and they continue to raise the bars we set as well and push and encourage each other.”
The squad began its scrimmage slate last weekend with a trip to Columbia, S.C., where they played Georgia State and South Carolina.
“We had two very good matches on Saturday against Georgia State and South Carolina,” said Michner. “Georgia State was our first match of the spring, and really our first match since the fall. It took us the first few minutes to get settled back into playing; but once that happened, we moved the ball well and did a good job in playing simple and creating chances. We had a great goal in the run of play through stringing a sequence of passes and Hope Walker finding McCallie Jones who put it in the back of the net.
“Our second match against South Carolina was another great opportunity for us to challenge a very solid side. Our team stepped up and played well. Again, we looked to move the ball and really utilized all of our players in possession in swinging the ball from the backs to the forwards. It was great to see some players in different positions and our team in different formations.
“They all adjusted well and certainly competed in both matches. We were able to create some good chances, saw a lot of good things individually and as a whole, and ultimately, the vibe from each of the players was awesome.”
The team has four more scrimmage dates as part of the spring slate. They play Saturday, March 23 against Charleston Southern; Sunday, April 7 at Georgia Southern; Sunday, April 14 against Coastal Carolina and Saturday, April 20 at Wake Forest.
“Spring matches are great for maintaining our focus and providing us with something to prepare for,” said Michner. “Regardless of whether we are in the fall or spring season, our individual and team mentality should not waiver. With limited matches in spring, we have to capitalize on each moment of play. The competitive nature doesn’t change from the players’ standpoints; and as a staff, we can mix things up to see players in different positions and try new formations.”
For details and updates on the team’s progress throughout the spring, follow on Twitter (@CofCWSoc) at the following link.