Falcons return renewed

Bradon Shrider and Bradon Shrider

After a spring full of injuries and struggles, the Falcon soccer team is heading into the 2014 season healthy, in-shape and confident.

The younger players were able to gain valuable experience throughout the spring. While there is still work to do, the Falcons are confident that their hard work will pay off.

“Maybe the same thing that makes us a little bit vulnerable also makes us strong because there are a lot of good young players who aren’t afraid to let it rip,” head coach Eric Nichols said. “We don’t have a ton of seniors, but the seniors, juniors and sophomores that we do have are really strong—strong characters and strong leaders.”

While lacking experience, this youth-filled team is not lacking confidence and has shown over the summer that they are willing to work hard.

“Our strong point is our willingness to work. Everyone on this team has shown throughout this preseason that they’re willing to work their butts off,” junior defender Jake Genrich said. “We didn’t have the best spring but when the freshman came in, everyone came in really fit.”

With just three seniors on the team, the Falcons have relied on leadership to keep them motivated and focused.

Whether it be the coaches or the captains, the Falcons have come into the season ready to go.

“Our three captains have done an excellent job,” freshman forward Ty Smith said. “They’ve really stepped up and set the bar for us. Now we just need to show [coach Nichols] in the game that we can do what he’s asking.”

While the team may not be where they need to be, they are aware that it is a process and they’re confident that their players will get where they need to be.

“This is a soccer savvy group with good technique across the board,” Nichols said. “We brought in a bunch of good soccer players, we’re just trying to accelerate the learning curve as much as we can. It’s definitely a process.”

Part of getting where they need to be is improving on the minor details on the field in order to maximize their talent.

“We have about twenty very little things that aren’t where they need to be now and we’re hoping that by the time we come out of that scrimmage, they’re where they need to be,” Nichols said. “Their soccer is there, so it’s just a matter if they’re going to be college ready.”

BG may have had a disappointing spring with work still to do, but getting healthy and in-shape has the Falcons raising the bar for the 2014 season.

“We’re shooting high, looking to take out Akron,” senior midfielder Danny Baraldi said. “Our goal for this year is to win the MAC.”