Soccer | Photo by Soham Parikh | Edited by Kayli Thompson | The Wright State Guardian
Soccer players at Wright State University (WSU) are excited to be together again and practicing. Regardless of the uncertainty surrounding the season, they are happy to be back playing the sport that they love.
“It’s been great. Finally getting to see everyone and being able to train with all of the returners and the new guys has been very enjoyable,” said senior on the men’s soccer team Brayden McNitt.
The health and safety of the student-athletes and the coaching staff are still the main focus of the NCAA, so practices do come with restrictions.
“Every student-athlete and all athletics personnel should practice at least daily self-health before participating in any aspect of in-person athletics activities,” according to the NCAA’s website.
Protocols for Practice
When the soccer teams first started practice, the guidelines in place were more strict. The NCAA and Horizon League review the guidelines constantly and are starting to get back to normalcy with practice.
“For the first two weeks of practice we were limited to small groups of six. The players were required to wear masks the entire time they trained,” said Head Coach of the women’s soccer team Pat Ferguson.
There have been some changes to the guidelines for the players since they first started practice.
“They can now train without masks. Coaches and staff are required to wear masks the entire time. The team room is still off-limits,” said Ferguson.
WSU was able to start training earlier than other schools, a big part of why practices are starting to feel somewhat normal for the players and coaches.
“After the two weeks, we have been allowed four weeks to train as a full team. Everything is back to normal with the full team training and we are able to take our masks off during training,” said McNitt.
Challenges they are facing
One of the crucial aspects of being able to improve as a team is to actually compete against another team, which is not allowed right now by the NCAA.
“Now that we are together, the only limitation is due to the fact we can’t play exhibition games against outside opponents – which obviously helps in our development as a team,” said Ferguson.
Preparing for the season throughout the summer was a challenge for the players because facilities and gyms were closed for months.
This was something student-athletes across the country had to deal with throughout the entire summer, so it will have an effect on every team regardless of the sport.