Maria Fadool Diary
Aug. 16, 2006
Every year is a new beginning for the Rice soccer team. As the reigning Conference USA champion, there are higher expectations than ever before to perform and repeat what we worked so hard for last year. It is the title that every conference USA team aspires to have and one that will not be kept without a fight. With this said, we begin our new difficult task with pre-season.
This two week period of at least two practices every day is an intense preparation for the regular season. Here at Rice there are two fitness tests, one each of the first two days, and then all sorts of playing in between two scrimmages.
For the freshmen, preseason is like nothing they have participated in before, and for the veteran seniors, it is their last. This is the hardest part of the year, where everybody is broken down both mentally and physically.
This year is very exciting for a number of reasons. First of all, I am a senior who will be concluding my lengthy soccer career (as well as the rest of the girls in my class). When you do something for so long its weird to think about what life will be like without it. The seven of us have only three months left to be division one athletes. Second, we have a great recruiting class that has come in ready to make an immediate positive impact on the program. They are all very talented and exciting to watch. Only great things are to come from them! Finally, it is always so much fun to come back together with the girls that have become your best friends. After a summer apart, there is so much to catch up on with everyone!
Now for the update that will continue to come weekly (hopefully!) We have just completed our 6th day of two-a-days and only have a few more left. At the beginning of the week we were off to a great start getting to know the freshmen and integrating them into our system of play. The first real test for our team was last night against Texas A&M. With the results largely not in our favor, we learned that there is a long road from where we are as a team currently and where we want to be. It was a definite reality check. Luckily this came early enough (and in a scrimmage) in our season that we have ample time to fix what is broken. By really coming together as a team we were able to make it through the toughest day of preseason (both mentally and physically) that I have experienced in the last four years. We had a test of character last night but an even bigger test of character today. By pushing through adversity we proved that we are all dedicated to making this year the best that it can possibly be... and with the talent on this team we should be able to put on a pretty good show. It is going to be hard but we are going to do it.
Our next test is Friday night. We have a scrimmage against Northwestern State and we have a chance to redeem ourselves as well as prove that we are a top competitor. All on our home soil! This is a great opportunity and hopefully we will have a lot of fans to help cheer us on while we embark on our journey to becoming conference champions... again!