Members of UM’s women’s soccer team fighting for the ball against Spring Hill. Photo by Kat Bell.
The strong returning core of the women’s soccer team will be complemented by 10 incoming freshmen players. The team, young in comparison to others in the league, will have 16 freshmen and sophomores.
The new players will be joined by new head and assistant coaches.
Jake Wyman was promoted to head coach when Robert Lane resigned from the position to join the University of Georgia as an assistant coach. John Robertson joined the program as an assistant coach; he was previously an assistant coach in UAB’s women’s soccer program.
“Having being named head coach in January was great,” said Wyman, who hopes that this creates less of a jarring transition as a coach. “And because I’ve recruited all of these players that’s made it all a lot smoother”
This allows the coaching team to smoothly move into their preparation for their first game of the season and what will likely turn into a difficult schedule. The young team will have to navigate what Wyman described as one of the most difficult schedules in the Gulf South Conference.
With a third of the team incoming freshmen, some may see a relatively young group of players as a disadvantage. Wyman sees this as an opportunity and a major strength of the team.
“The one thing I really like about a young team is that they don’t really know who’s good or who’s not and they don’t really care. They’re just here to play and they have a certain fearlessness to them that’s exciting,” said Wyman about his excitement for the incoming freshmen.
The first eight games of the UM Women’s soccer season will be telling as the first three games will be against teams that the finished ahead of them during the regular season.
The team will start its season on Sept. 5 against Trevecca Nazarene in Falcon’s Stadium. Quickly following this up with what is sure to be a hard-fought game against Louisiana Tech University a Division I school.
After these two home games the Falcons will go on the road again for in conference play against fifth ranked Valdosta State on Sept. 27, sixth ranked West Georgia on Sept. 29, top ranked West Florida on Oct. 4, and 14th ranked Spring Hill Oct. 6.
Wyman hopes to take this schedule one game at a time noting that each day brings a new challenge and that the team’s overall focus is to improve.
“Trying to get better every day. Trying to work. No matter what we’re doing, whether it’s painting fields or pressing shirts or planning out preseason or training,” said Wyman about the philosophy of the team.
Last year the team made a deep run into postseason play, competing in the conference finals. This year Wyman wants to take the season one game at a time, though still keeps winning in directly in his sights.