Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Season Begins

Aaron Gibbons, a senior on the 2011 Milwaukee men's soccer team, will be blogging all season long on the UWM website. Today is his second entry of the year.


The mood throughout the locker room was quiet and full of disappointment Friday night after our season-opening loss. Shock and confusion would pretty much sum up my feelings post game Friday.

Anyone who would have seen the first half and even 25-30 minutes of the second half, despite the goals, would have put their money on the Panthers coming away from the game with a comfortable victory.

We owned possession throughout the whole game, so despite only scoring one goal throughout our numerous chances, this was one positive that came from the match.

Another pleasing aspect that came from Friday's game were the fans, despite the 4:30 start, and not having many students on campus yet, the crowd definitely showed up for the Panthers.

A much welcome army of former UWM players and students did an excellent job of agitating the IPFW keeper from the bleachers behind the goal net, hopefully this group will prove to be regulars this season in accommodating our team throughout the 2011 season.

Though the first match of the season wasn’t the ideal, the season is long, with many games to come. Our next match lands on Friday, September 2nd, facing Western Michigan.

This week’s practice will surely stress the aspects of the game that were absent from our previous match such as finishing our chances, and eliminating silly defensive mistakes. This will surely prepare us for the upcoming game.

Hope to see you all there as we look to take our first victory on Engelmann Field this season!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Preseason Begins...

Aaron Gibbons, a senior on the 2011 Milwaukee men's soccer team, will be blogging all season long on the UWM website. Today is his first entry of the year.


As August rolls around the corner, there is one thought and one thought only on the minds of a UWM men’s soccer player ... Preseason.

While the majority of college students are deeply content, enjoying the perks of a long fun-filled summer, the time has come to report to captain’s practice for us Panthers. As a 5th-year senior, the content to these captains’ practices throughout the years has changed drastically.

Though captain’s practices don’t stress much formal fitness, once coaches' practice begins, players are expected to be in top-notch condition.

The first day of coaches is always the worst from a player’s perspective. The morning session consisted of a 3-mile intervals test. This consists of running three miles with a six-minute rest in between each mile; each mile must be finished before a time of 5 minutes and 30 seconds.

Though player’s fitness varies some, overall the performance was great. This enables the majority of coach’s preseason to consist of a colorful blend of possession drills, attacking/defending variations and foot skills training, all together focusing on putting the final pieces together in preparation for our first exhibition match.

The alumni game was the first on the schedule of exhibitions. While for many schools this match may be looked at as a breeze, the UWM men’s alumni consist of a bundle of professional, ex-professional and even a World Cup 2002 U.S. men’s national team starter. This year the 2011 Panthers took a quick two-goal lead, both coming from junior forward Potato Banks.

The alumni evened the score at two-all late in the match. We quickly responded when a cross was put in the box by senior defender Aaron Gibbons, sent directly to freshman midfielder Laurie Bell, who cleverly flicked the ball past alumni keeper Chris Dadian for the go-ahead and game-winning goal.

The alumni game overall proved to be a success. The three goals was a positive, but the two goals allowed and some sloppy play showed that we still had lots of work to do as the second and final exhibition approach facing Lewis University.

As the squad left the much needed air conditioning of the travel vans upon arrival of Lewis University, the sun was beaming and the legs were heavy. Fatigue was present, but never the less; it was time for the last preseason game. The match was off to a great start again thanks to another fantastic goal from junior Potato Banks. He received a ball from junior defender Ryan Whitehead, just outside the box and sent the ball flying over the Lewis goalkeeper, off the crossbar and into the net.

The second half was full of new Panther faces, as every player on the roster that was able to play, did indeed so. The flow was a bit shaky at times, but proved steady to hold onto the 1-0 advantage all the way through 90 minutes.

As preseason has come to an end, the excitement and anticipation for the home opener against IPFW is growing rapidly. All of the hard work, sweat and dedication has proven unbeaten as we will look to continue this trend into the season.

I am looking forward to sharing the UWM men’s soccer team experience with you all and hope you enjoy reading!