Soccer team gains confidence during first spring under HartBy Cody Estremera | 04/20/2016 8:28pm
Wes Hart took over as coach of the women's Alabama soccer program in April of 2015. CW | Shelby Akin
The Crimson Tide soccer team has had a busy offseason. The team has been putting in a lot of work as they wrap up coach Wes Hart's first spring season with the team.
“Finally getting a full spring with our new head coach, Wes, it’s definitely helped us,” freshman Emma Welch said. “He’s been able to implement what he wanted us to do in the season. Just putting an emphasis on winning and making sure we are keeping possession, and most importantly playing how we want to play.”
Hart said he believes overall team development is crucial.
“It definitely hurt us last year not having a full spring season,” Hart said. “This spring has been awesome for us, to have time to train and work on what we have to do. The fall is more for managing your team and keeping them healthy and fresh, while the spring is where you can work the team harder.”
The team finished with five wins last season. This spring the team feels it's moving in the right direction.
“We are seeing results from everything we’ve been practicing on, and have been doing things in the games that are positive," sophomore Lacy Clarida said. It’s exciting to see everything that we’re working on in the games. The culture is also changing. We are really focused on winning every single game. Our mindsets towards individually getting better and as the team getting better. We go 110 percent in practice and games.”
The Crimson Tide also sent a member of its team, Welch, to the United States Women’s Soccer Under-19 National Team camp during the spring.
“It was a great experience,” Welch said. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It was really cool to meet a bunch of different girls from all over the country. It helped my progression 100 percent. It showed me what the top level is. I was definitely humbled by the experience and I also realized what it takes to there.”
The Crimson Tide struggled last year on the road. The team only won one road game, but fixing that has been a point of emphasis this offseason.
“We wanted to make sure we scheduled road games,” Hart said. “We scheduled two away games. The road game that we played so far was against Troy, and we had that game under control for the most part. We allowed three goals in a five minute span and ended up losing that game.”
Spring games are important to the players as well. The games show how much the team has improved over the spring and what the players still need to work on.
“I think they’re pretty crucial as far as giving us confidence in the fall,” sophomore Chatham DeProspo said. “I know that the success we’ve had in the spring games has been a huge confidence boost for the entire team. It leads us into the summer practices and into the fall season. Spring games and the experiences from last fall will help us on road games. They [road games] are something you get used to.”
The Crimson Tide currently has a 3-1 record in their spring games. The team plays its final spring game on the road against Lipscomb on Saturday.
“We are definitely going into the game wanting to win. Finishing the spring season on a positive note will carry over into the fall season, and hopefully we will continue where we left off,” Clarida said.