Soccer players prepare for fall season

According to the players and coaches, preparation for the high school season weeks or even months before the season begins is important because of how demanding the season is.


Dru Fairthorne, Guest Writer

The final whistle blows. Ludlow Lions have lost the game and have been knocked out of the state tournament. Concord Carlisle has ended the Ludlow Lion’s 18-game unbeaten streak. Disappointed by the way they are eliminated; the Ludlow players are filled with anger and sadness. The fans for Ludlow quickly and silently leave the stadium while the Concord Carlisle fans are celebrating their victory as their team earns a spot in the semi-finals of the state tournament. The locker room was filled with emotions. Some players show anger as they know they should have done better and they should have won the game. Some are sad as the season is over and have to wait a whole year until high school soccer starts again. 

“Pick your heads up, we had an outstanding season. We went 18 games unbeaten” Coach Kolodziey says. “Eighteen games unbeaten is an incredible achievement and every single one of you should be proud because you all played a part in our success.” adding, “We won Western Mass 5-0 which is the record for the biggest win. Now we have to focus on next season and get bigger, stronger, and faster.”

 Everyone is still sad that they lost but our focus changed to next season. The players wanted to win states as the last year Ludlow won states was in 2018. The Ludlow Lions now have a goal to focus on, and will do anything to achieve it: winning states.

But there is work to do before then. Soccer does not end in November for most high school players. The off-season has approached for the Ludlow Lions and players have started to prepare for try-outs and for the season to come. Some of the players are playing spring soccer with teams such as Pioneers. Some have decided that they would rather work on their own without a team in the spring and play summer league soccer with Ludlow. 

“For spring soccer I am playing for the Western Mass Pioneers 05 team,” Luis Chaves says. 

When Chaves was asked to reflect upon his previous season, he responded “I would say as a team our season wasn’t that great because we lost the majority of our games. We also went out early in the state tournament with a terrible defeat. But I think my season was good because I was the top scorer for my team and I created a lot of chances for my team to score.” 

Chaves confirmed what team he will play with next year, “I will be staying with the Pioneers next year in the hope to do better and win more games with my team,” he says.

Defender junior Drew Smith reflected on his season and said, “My season was pretty good but I hope to be better next season. I had a good amount of goal contributions, so I would say I played pretty good last season.” 

Smith looks forward to next year. “As it’s my last year to play for the Ludlow High School soccer team, I am hoping to still be playing for Ludlow next season.”

Midfielder junior Jacob Costa said he had a “good but not great” season and plans on returning to the high school team next year.

Luis has said that he will not be playing summer soccer with Ludlow as he is going to Portugal for the summer. But Costa and Smith have decided that they want to play summer league soccer with Ludlow to prepare for tryouts and the season coming up.

The high school season requires a lot of running. So staying fit and in shape is key for the players. If the players are not fit enough to play then other teams will take advantage and dominate the game. Waiting till the season starts would not be enough to try and play the season if the player wants to play their best. Since waiting till the season starts to work on their fitness, doing something over the summer is necessary for the player. Speed and strength training is what most players are going to do over the summer.

 Smith said, “During the summer, I’ll make sure to stay in shape by practicing my skills and I will do a lot of running. I’ll definitely do speed and strength training over the summer.” 

Chaves has looked back at his season and hopes to continue to prepare for next season. “I’m going to go to the gym during the summer and I am also going to go to the soccer field and practice my skills by myself.” 

Costa wants to go to the gym to get stronger over the summer for next season. 

Since high school soccer is only played in the fall, many of the players compete in another sport in the winter or in the spring to stay active. They play sports like basketball, hockey, volleyball, and even track. 

However, Costa said that might change. “After the soccer season, I don’t think I will play any other sports. I used to play basketball but I don’t think I am going to play next year.” 

Smith thinks he will most likely play basketball but he is not completely sure. 

Chaves also talked about sports after the soccer season, “No, I will only be playing soccer next year because it’s what I love”. 

According to the players and coaches, preparation for the high school season weeks or even months before the season begins is important because of how demanding the season is. Having practice every day after school causes risks of injuries, especially if the athlete was inactive all off-season. Additionally, weak legs and stiff tendons in the knees and ankles can lead to injuries.

Going to the gym, strength and condition training, and summer soccer will help better prepare the players for the season. 

However, too much soccer off-season can do more harm than good. When players play too much soccer, performances in games can become worse. Players who train too much can lose motivation for the sport. Taking breaks from the sport can be beneficial to let your body and your mind heal from any injuries. The right balance is necessary for athletes, even soccer players.