Aug. 12, 2003
Tallahassee, FL - As excited as the 2003 FSU soccer team is about the upcoming season, you can't blame them for dreading the first week of practice. The team will step out at Mike Long Track at 7:00 a.m. Wednesday morning for the Cooper Fitness Test. The 12-minute run serves as the opening bell on a stretch of 12 practices in four days as the team begins its three-a-day schedule.
"Three-a-days are about using as much of the day as we can in preparation for the season," said head coach Patrick Baker. "Some of it is mental in the sense that we are trying to do a little bit more than the other teams we will face throughout the year. There is no tougher environment that I have been around in women's college soccer than three-a-days. We are all going to see each other at our best and at our worst this week. If the players are able to get through each of those sessions, it does a lot for their psyche. It is also about seeing how well some players succeed and how some fail and then respond to that failure."
"Everyone, even the returning players are a little nervous about three-a-days," said rookie Amber McCall. "I keep hearing that we have never trained like we are getting ready to at any level before. I don't think there is really any way to prepare for what is ahead of us this week."
From Wednesday to Saturday, the Tribe will begin every morning at 7:00 a.m. with a fitness session before training at 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Fitness has been a key component to Baker's success and with new substitution rules going into effect this season, it will be even more important in 2003.
"We probably have as deep a team as we have ever had, at least on paper," said Baker. "With the new rules, the core of our team has to be able to play 90 minutes. The new substitutions rules are a challenge but we will have to adapt to that to see what works the best and what rotation will be the best."
This will be the fourth year of three-a-days for co-captains Kristin Boyce and Amber Tollefson. The two seniors have been the foundation of Florida State's rise to prominence and know that success in the fall starts with hard work in preseason.
"Preseason sets the tone for everything," said Tollefson. "We put a premium on work ethic as a program and there is a collective excitement surrounding this team right now. We are going to build on each other's energy and go into tomorrow with the mindset that we are going to out work the other teams so we can get better."
For the seven freshmen that are part of the nations No. 7 recruiting class, Wednesday will be their first taste of collegiate soccer. While midfielder India Trotter and forward Julia Schnugg have spent various parts of the last year with the US U-17 National Team, they still are a little unsure of what to expect on their first day at FSU.
"I am expecting anything and everything," said Trotter. "I am a little nervous and scared to see what is going to happen when we finally step out tomorrow."
"I have been dreading tomorrow since last week and now I think my imagination is running away with me," said Schnugg. "We are all going to go through this together as a team so that makes me feel a lot better. I am expecting tomorrow to be the hardest day of my life from a physical standpoint. I am a little relieved though because it is finally here and we can get through day one and have only three more days like that left."
The Seminoles will play two preseason games at home before opening the regular season versus Southern Cal August 29 at 7:00 p.m. The Tribe will face Tallahassee United U-16 boys' team either Thursday August 21 or Friday, August 22. They will then play United Quest of Georgia Sunday, August 24. Both games will be played at the Seminole Soccer Complex and there will be no admission charge. As soon as game times and dates are set, they will be posted to the schedule at Florida State's official athletic website www.seminoles.com.