The Weber State University women’s soccer team is getting ready for the new season. The coaching staff is not allowed to coach the team during the summer; the players are doing a two-and-a-half-month-long summer training program to prepare for the upcoming year.

“I assume this strength-training program is going well for the players,” said assistant coach Megan Thunnel.

Thunnel said the coaches are excited for the fall season, because the team has 14 seniors this year. She stressed the importance of experience and leadership that the 14 seniors will bring to the team.

“It’s important the players understand the experience plays a key role,” Thunnel said. “It helps the way they understand our system.”

Thunnel said it is always hard to predict how the team will do in a season because the coaches are unable to see the upcoming freshmen play until they arrive in August to begin the season. However, she said the coaching staff is optimistic, and that the seniors deserve the best season.

“Some players are returning from last year,” said head coach Tim Crompton, “so I’m excited about having a team of seniors this year to get started with.”

Crompton said the team was just short of accomplishing its goals last year. For this new season, he said, the players have the expectation of getting into the conference tournament and becoming the conference champions.

“Spring is a big part of preparing for the upcoming season, because you get to play spring games, and we also do a lot of weight training that we carry over into the summer,” said defender Ari Wood.

She said that, in addition to the weight training, the team does conditioning, and tries to get together and kick a ball around as much as possible.

“A lot of preparation for fall is about getting in the right mindset and doing the hard work, so that, when the time comes, we’re ready,” Wood said.

Last season, the Wildcats lost seven games that were decided by one goal. Wood said they are hopeful that their preseason preparation will help them be able to close out close games.

“Last year, we had a lot of close games that mostly all ended with a loss,” Wood said. “Although weight training, conditioning and time on the ball is important for us . . . I think that one of the biggest things is going to be the mental side. When a game is winding down, we need to be able to stay strong, get focused and do whatever needs to be done to win the game.”

This year, the Wildcats face a tough schedule. They will face many tough non-conference opponents, and will also have their tough Big Sky Conference schedule. Wood said she isn’t someone who gets overly stressed about the schedule, but just looks to play her game.

“To be honest, I’m the type of player that doesn’t really look at the schedule much,” Wood said. “If you ask me who we’re playing the next week or the next month, chances are I won’t know. I guess I figure no matter who we play, my game plan is the same.”

Wood said that since she has played with WSU, the team has always had a tough non-conference schedule. She said she prefers a tough non-conference schedule because she thinks it best prepares the players for their conference. She also said she likes playing tougher teams because, for the most part, the better the team, the better soccer it will play.

“There are a lot of teams in college that may not have the skill or the soccer part down,” Wood said. “However, they come out and knock you around and play kickball. I have a lot more respect for teams that come out and play soccer.”

The Wildcats’ first home game is on August 19, when they will face off against Utah State University at the Wildcat Soccer Field.

“I encourage students and the community of WSU to come watch the games and to give the team their support,” Thunnel said.

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