Back to Practice for the Men’s Soccer Team

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William Masselli ~ Sports Columnist

     On Sept. 7, 2020, the University of Lynchburg Men’s Soccer Team returned to practice.     Senior starter and goalkeeper, Kyle Gallagher said, “It is no doubt a great feeling being back in my favorite place on campus. As far as the ODAC goes it is still too far in the future for us to really set our goals and expectations with so many moving pieces going on from the COVID implications. I just want us to take it one day at a time and let our situation materialize a bit further before we set expectations that we may not have the opportunity to take part in. The ODACS are certainly our team goal in any given “normal” season but we just need to take it one step at a time right now.” 

     Gallagher also said, “Being a role model is something that I am striving to do for our team. I am being more vocal with my teammates and trying to give all the new guys confidence and the best advice to succeed on and off the field. I try to help the team with reminders and grabbing the gear on the way out and many of the smaller things. My focus is to be as consistent and reliable with all of our team expectations and just try to lead by example. I think the most important aspect of a leader is that the team can choose who they look up to. If the guys want to look up to me, I will gladly take on that responsibility, and if they choose someone else then that will not impact how I go about being the best teammate I can be.”

     Gallagher said, “I believe we just got cleared to have about 15 to 20 players give or take playing at the same time on the field. There was some rustiness coming back in the first week or so, but I think we have improved greatly since then. I know a few guys have been going out on our days off to go kick the ball around on their own and work on their skills and techniques. Many of the new guys have been stepping up to the challenge and have been impressive to watch, and many of the returners are back in their stride of where we know their level of play to be. Overall, our team is headed in the right direction and each day out there the level of play picks up from where it left off on the previous day.” 

  Griffin Phillips, a junior is excited about returning to practice. He said, “I have just tried to really enjoy the practices as if they were my last and enjoy spending time with my teammates. With COVID, a lot of things are out of our control, so just being able to practice makes me and the rest of the team happy. Always remembering that only a few weeks ago we were not able to practice at all and that there are plenty of student athletes who cannot practice definitely helps with positivity. Additionally, for me, I just like feeling a part of the team again, even if it is in small groups. Just playing with the guys and getting to joke around with them makes me happy.” 

     Phillips displayed his admiration for the coaching staff’s efforts by saying, “Our coaches have done an excellent job checking in on us, keeping us up to date, and telling us what we should be doing both individually and as a team. We know the standards that come with being a University of Lynchburg Men’s Soccer Player, and our coaches are making sure we continue to take the next steps by ensuring we do the things we need to do to achieve our goals. Additionally, they make sure we follow all the protocols to the fullest, while still allowing us to have some fun when we do get to train in our small groups. They set up perfect drills that still match the guidelines we need to follow, are open with us about all the information they get, and they try to remind us to focus on everything we can control.” 

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