For high school sports, summer is generally an offseason, but no one told the Waynesville High boys soccer team.
WAYNESVILLE – For high school sports, summer is generally an offseason, but no one told the Waynesville High boys soccer team.
Approximately 25 student-athletes attended an intense open field session Tuesday, though the practice was competitive, its main purpose was to judge athletes' fundamentals and conditioning.
"I'm getting tired out there," one player admitted. "It just keeps getting hotter and hotter."
Tigers hustled about the field chattering soccer lingo, working together for one of few practices so far in 2013.
Waynesville's assistant coach Eric Thornburg saw something else during the open field.
"We're just trying to get the boys to get touches with the ball and make sure they know what they need to do at practice," Thornburg said. "Our success during the season really depends on their work out of the season."
After warming up, Tigers split into three teams of seven players before participating in short-sided games. Later, the field was divided in half to further competition. The reason for a smaller field, Thornburg said, was to give student-athletes the chance to measure themselves against opponents.
"You come out here and it's not so much us coaching you, it more self-gauging and determining where you're at and your ability levels and what you need to do to improve before tryouts start," he said.
Coming off what Thornburg said was "one of the worst years we've had," the Tigers will return eight players and add four who recently moved to the area.
Joining the practice were several former Tigers soccer players, including recently graduated Lajos Zadravecz, who will play soccer at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo. in the fall.
Thornburg said the presence of past players is important to Waynesville's soccer program.
"A lot of guys came back out [today], they play college or played college, and they come back and hang out," Thornburg said. "It's always nice when they come out and show our guys some moves, stay tough on the ball and share some encouraging words."
After nearly three months of open field sessions, tryouts and practices, Waynesville will open the 2013 season August 30 by hosting Sullivan at 5 p.m.