Liam Moore, handling the ball in last fall’s game against St Leo. Photo by Katie Compton.

The University of Montevallo’s Men’s Soccer team is ranked sixth in the Gulf South Conference’s Preseason Polls. Men’s Soccer Head Coach Bruce Dietterle thinks that while this is fair, it’s still low for where the team is at now. 

“The problem for [the other coaches] is that they don’t know the dynamic we created in the spring and they don’t know the players we’re bringing in. We won’t finish ninth,” said Dietterle adding, “This group that we’ve put together is special.” 

With nine seniors on the team, the Falcons have an older returning core of players and Dietterle feels that they have added players that will help push the team to perform higher than rated.  

“I’m very excited for this season, a lot of the reasons come from the large number of upperclassmen we have, last year we didn’t have many real seniors,” said Dietterle. “We definitely have a big group of older mature players that could contribute, and if history tells us anything those tend to be good years.” 

The coach says that the staff focused their recruiting this year around athleticism. Players recruited this year were in players who would be able to flex between different positions. 

The team targeted players who could flex between a couple different positions allowing them to have much more diverse options for offensive and defensive strategies on the field. This can allow the team to  

Part of the coach’s excitement surrounding this year’s team involves an institutional change that the coaching staff decided to implement. 

During the Spring semester of 2019 the Falcons coaching staff made a change to how the team appoints captains by doing away with the position almost completely. Instead the team has moved to what they call a “Player’s Union” format for team leadership.  

In this style five of the team’s players were named leaders. The coaching staff looked for leadership aspects that they valued in students and chose them based on what they saw. 

“We didn’t create these characteristics in [the players],” said Dietterle, “they were already there.” 

These players now all act together as the team’s “captain,” and Dietterle says he has already seen improvements in the Falcons play and cohesion. The coach noted that this has brought out positive characteristics in other players on the team and creates new and aspiring leaders on and off the field by bringing some students out of their shell.  

Even with the changes the Deitterle has made to the team, the Falcons will be met with a particularly difficult schedule this year. 

“Every game is going to be a difficult game,” said Dietterle adding that because of the closeness that the Gulf South’s coaches have it’s easy often easy to see who the biggest opponents will be and he feels that many of the opponents have been able to make good strides with their recruiting and retention of players this year. 

The Falcons will play their first three games at home this year, starting with Florida Southern University at 7 p.m. on Sept. 6, before going on the road to face Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia on Thursday, Sept. 19.