I am no stranger to hard soccer seasons.
Throughout my soccer career, I have only been on a handful of teams that I would say were truly successful. My freshman season of soccer at Guilford was nothing short of a tough one. We started out doing very well, with a 2-0 record in ODAC conference play. All of a sudden, we found ourselves in a “funk” that we could not seem to get ourselves out of, despite our best efforts. This does not mean we were a bad team. This just means things simply weren’t going our way, which happens in life. The thing about this past season at Guilford is that it is almost a carbon copy of my freshman season at Reagan High School in 2011. We ended up winning very little and losing quite a bit that season. However, by the time I was finished with my senior season at Reagan, the program had won its first state championship.
Don’t let a bad season get you down
The moral of the story is that it is not impossible to turn the ship around, though it may seem as though the team’s ship has sunk to the bottom of the Pacific. This, in fact, is very far from reality. Morale and motivation may be low in the wake of a losing season, but the team has to find a way to let the past be the past and look forward.
Regroup, reflect, and work forward
Take advantage of the offseason, if there is one. Use this time to regroup, reflect on what didn’t work so well for the team and start working for the next season. A new season often is or can be accompanied by new players, new attitudes, new tactics, new leadership and more. Use the negatives as motivation. Let the misery of a sub-par season ignite a fire under the team. Collectively set team goals for both the offseason and next season and make reaching these goals a priority for each player.
In a nutshell, don’t ever be discouraged by a tough season, individually or collectively. Odds are, not every season is going to be great. Let the past be the past and move on. Never dwell over it. Work to turn things around because it is never impossible to do so. And remember, be thankful that for the opportunity to play the beautiful game day in and day out because some aren’t as fortunate. Now go train!