It's the beginning of August and collegiate athletes around the nation are trying to get in as best of shape as they can as to not be the one throwing up once the fitness test comes around in about a month. Coaches everywhere are sending emails to their players with details about when to report to their respective athletic halls and how hard they should be working to be ready when that first whistle blows to start the season. The start of the season can really sneak up on athletes especially if they are really busy with a job during the summer and it can really fly by. There are a lot of ups and downs throughout a college soccer player's season and I've done my best in this piece to describe the most common themes in a college soccer's layer's season.
The end of August has finally come around and you're excited to get back on the pitch with your friends. You've maybe prepared well in the off-season and you're ready to show your coach what you can bring to the table and hopefully the scoresheet.
Pre-season is coming to an end and practically everyone on the roster is arriving to two-a-days with ice wrapped around their calfs, hamstrings, and ankles. There's also at least one or two kids that look like the kid in the above image in the final pre-season sessions.
You've survived pre-season and you've paid your dues on the field and proved your stuff to your teammates and your coaches. Hopefully you've earned a starting spot by this point as you walk into the locker room on game day and everyone's jerseys are hanging up in everyone's locker. The feeling of pride as you walk out to midfield with your teammates is great and going out to earn a win with your teammates is your collective mission.
You're far enough into the season to where you understand how successful your team is going to be in league play. You either feel like the guy above, or the guy in the red and white below...
At this point in the season you're approaching the end of the season and you're just about past halfway through the semester. The schoolwork is piling up and the pressure is building in soccer as you're either staring playoffs in the face or you're struggling just to be in the conversation. All of that stress is something someone who isn't a student athlete may have a hard time understanding but it can leave you looking like the guy in the image below.
The time for playoffs has come and hopefully you're celebrating like the coach in the image below. The time has come to perform at your highest and it's the time to make all of the sprints, morning practices, and long bus rides worth it.
Like most teams that don't make the NCAA tournament at the end of the season you've probably suffered a tough loss to a conference rival or maybe a team that you should have beaten. But regardless, you've endured a collegiate soccer season which isn't easy and hopefully you've been able to keep your GPA afloat. Unfortunately, though, you won't be seeing your teammates every day at practice and battling with them on the field every weekend; so chances are you look like this on the field after your final loss of the season.
Ultimately, though, you've made friends for life during this season and you wouldn't trade those difficult moments during the season for anything. Being a part of a college soccer team is a special thing and nothing that someone should take for granted.