soccer covid

Spartan Soccer Team Stays in Shape Despite COVID-19 Challenges

Alex Baker

With the recent pandemic, many student-athletes have been forced to forgo their upcoming seasons. However, many of these athletes are not letting the quarantine lifestyle keep them from their workouts. Since March 26, the Manchester University men’s soccer team has been utilizing the Zoom video chat platform, which the entire team can use to get together digitally for a quick training session.

Head Coach Corey Brueggeman emailed the players noting that practice sessions will be no longer than 40 minutes and elaborated on all the necessities the players will need to complete the workouts. To have a proper e-training session, the players are advised to have enough space where they can do simple yet effective on-ball work, along with enough space to incorporate some core exercises.

If players are not available for digital training sessions, they can set up individual times with Brueggeman or assistant coach Chad Brooks. However, the team is only allowed to practice on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, so an individual will need to plan accordingly.

Brueggeman leads the technical session which includes turning, dribbling and keeping the ball in tight spaces––the goal is for the players to get better but also for nothing fragile to get broken in their houses. Brooks leads the fitness aspect of training. He is in charge of the core workout, which is intense, but overall it helps the Spartans ensure that they are getting a productive workout in.

Sophomore exercise science major Ryan Worman was anxious about how this type of practice would turn out, but is excited to get back in touch with his teammates, along with getting touches on the ball. “Sure, this is not the ideal training session that we envisioned for the spring season; however, everyone has had a good attitude about it,” Worman said. “The training sessions we have so far have been beneficial.”

Drew Gavit, sophomore history education major, is proud of the program and how the teammates are taking this opportunity amid the adversities to improve. “Our season is not until the fall, so the commitment I have seen from the guys makes me excited for my third season.” Gavit said.

Since soccer is a fall sport, spring is a perfect time to set a benchmark for the next season. During the spring, the team will train for a few days. Training will include weights, fitness tests, and obviously, soccer practice. Then to finish this season, the team is allowed to play 180 minutes of soccer, which equates to about two games. “Spring has always been a good testament for the guys,” Gavit said.

Gavit was actually supposed to miss the entire spring season because of his semester-long trip to England, but he is grateful to be back home and safe. “It was great being in England and I hope to return one day, but I am glad to be back home doing what I love,” Gavit added.

A newcomer to the team, Zaid Masri (pictured above), junior software engineering major, has been quickly adapting to his newfound workout regimen. “This is not how I thought my first outing with the team was going to happen,” Masri said. “The guys have been welcoming and I cannot wait to represent Manchester on the field next season.”

Prior to spring break, the team had notched several morning workouts along with a few outdoor practices, so Masri was able to form relationships with his new teammates. “It was good to get a couple of practices in before the break, so I have an idea of what my coaches and teammates are expecting of me,” he said.

The team will continue online sessions until their spring season is finished. Once that is over, the players are responsible to train individually to better themselves and the team in preparation for the fall season.