We are off and running. Games have begun and you can feel the competitive spirit in the air.
Our NPL Teams headed to North Carolina for matches early in August. With only a few days of practice under their belts, we had some surprisingly good results. Yes, there were some losses as well. When new teams are formed and new coaches are in charge, it is going to take some time to come together as a team. Our players competed hard, and you could see the progress from Day 1 to Day 2.
Our DPL Teams (girls) made the trip to Atlanta for some preseason games. These games didn’t count for anything, but they were very helpful in showing us areas we need to improve. With the Liberty Cup just a few days away, this will be another pre-season opportunity for learning and development. We don’t have an official league game for nearly a month. There is lots of time to continue developing and organizing so that we are ready to compete at the highest level.
Our MLS NEXT Teams have started training and 3 of our teams competed this past weekend against Nashville SC teams. The results did not go our way, but we learned a lot and got our first glimpse of the level we need to achieve.
The facilities and set up in Nashville were amazing. Their clubhouse with locker rooms, laundry, training room, and video room was very impressive. Their full-time staff of coaches, trainers, goalkeeping coaches, and sports science staff clearly had their teams ready to perform at peak levels.
In preseason when teams have had just a few days of preparation, just one or two extra days of training can make an enormous difference on the field. If one team has a week or two more training, they are at a tremendous advantage. I am confident that we will start to make up this gap over the next few weeks of training and games.
This fall we are implementing a number of clinics and symposiums for our players. The first is this Monday night as we will host a seminar on Nutrition for our female players. We are excited to hear what Dr. Kat Sweatt. PhD in Nutrition Science and an Exercise Physiologist has to teach our athletes.
Future symposiums will cover Nutrition for boys, Speed training and development, College recruiting, and Mental preparation and Sports Psychology. Look for more details and dates on these educational opportunities coming soon.
We are also beginning our training sessions in Montgomery and Huntsville for our players from those areas. If you have not already signed up for those sessions, please do so right away. We know how big a commitment it is for our families to travel so far for practices each week. We are delighted that we can reduce the burden a little bit for players from those areas.
The MLS NEXT game schedule is expected to be ready next week. We do know that our first games will be played at home on September 11. The DPL schedule is also expected to be finalized in the next few days. The NPL schedule is out and has been distributed to our players and coaches.
COVID continues to take a toll on our players and on our teams. With players going back to school we are already seeing an uptick in the number of COVID cases and exposures amongst our players and staff.
Please continue to follow the proper protocols to keep yourself and everyone else healthy. DO NOT share water or water bottles during practice or games. DO wash your hands often and wear a mask anytime you are indoors and within 6 feet of other people. Continue to practice social distancing. If you are not vaccinated, wear a mask outdoors when you are near other people and not involved in physical activity. Please continue to report positive tests, symptoms, or exposure to our COVID Committee through our online portal.
HVS has taken great strides forward over the past 12 months. We continue to push the envelope in an effort to develop the best players in our state. We are playing at higher levels of competition than any teams in our state have ever done before. There will be a steep learning curve for our players and our parents. Please remember it is not where you are that counts but in what direction you are moving. We are all on this journey together and it has been a very promising start so far. I can’t wait to see just how far we can go.
Director of Coaching