A new era begins

The 2012-13 season has finally arrived for the Jacksonville University men’s soccer team and new head coach Ryan Pratt.  The players reported on Wednesday and the team has begun two-a-days in preparation for the upcoming season.

The Dolphins will be on a practice schedule that features a morning session and a late afternoon session up until they travel to Tampa to take on USF in an exhibition match on Aug. 14.  

Those practices should prove to be an invaluable time for the players to get acclimated to JU, Pratt, and each other as 18 of the 27 members of the team are new to the program.

“We’re excited to begin preseason and to finally have all of our guys together,” said Pratt.  “Having so many new players, we are looking to build team chemistry so that everyone has a better understanding of each other on the field which we know will take time.” 

This preseason period will give Pratt and the Dolphin coaching staff a good opportunity to assess each player’s skill level and assets as this will be the first year with any of the players. 

“Overall, I am pleased with the entire team right now,” said Pratt.  “The returnees look sharp and have done a good job so far in raising their level of expectation and have begun to instill within themselves some of the winning characteristics we believe in as a program.  A big part of the preseason and the beginning of the fall will be to pass on some of those lessons to the newcomers to set the expectations and show the standard of what being a JU soccer player is all about.”

The JU men’s soccer team and Pratt are scheduled to play three exhibitions matches with the first coming on the road at USF and the next two occurring at home against Thomas and Flagler.  The regular season kicks off on Aug. 24 when the Dolphins host Georgia Southern at the Ashley Sports Complex.