Michael Haynes Diary Entry
Aug. 24, 2004
The summer break tends to serve a different purpose for everyone on the team. Many of the freshmen get to go home after their first year away at school and play with their club teams one last time. The upperclassmen can do anything from working at internships, playing for summer league teams across the country, or just getting healthy and in shape for the upcoming season. Personally, I stayed in Tulsa this summer and finished rehabbing from a spring surgery. This consisted of numerous exercises to gain strength, and gradually work my way back into running and playing. I owe everyone in the training room a big thanks for getting me back into form. Whether it was Katie Whipple throwing medicine balls at me while working on my already poor balance, Liz Swank thinking up running regimens that would make a marathoner think twice, or Dr. Carr coming in and making fun of my hobbit feet, they were all a tremendous help.
The team certainly experienced some up and downs toward the end of the summer. CollegeSoccerNews.com named our recruiting class the 24th best in the nation and gave us a preseason ranking of No. 17. We were picked to finish third in the Missouri Valley Conference this year, receiving one first-place vote. This is one prediction that we plan to change, as only a MVC championship would satisfy our players and coaches. Additionally junior forward Ryan Pore was named a preseason first-team All-American by CollegeSoccerNews.com and preseason first-team all-MVC selection, along with senior Kyle Brown. Senior Scott Kincaid garnered honorable mention all-MVC honors. The last month gave us two big shocks. First, word came from Austin that junior defender Drew Williamson had been in a life-threatening car accident. Things were very scary there for about a week, but Drew-Pac's a fighter and took some fairly remarkable steps toward recovery. There's still some work to be done, but that's not anything Drew has every shied away from and we can't wait to have him back on campus. Secondly, we heard that Kyle Brown was injured in his last game with his Premier Development League team. Kyle has been a member of the all-MVC first team during all three years of his career at TU and losing a player of that caliber is always a tough pill to swallow. He loves the game and it will be tough for him to stay off the field, but he'll support his team this fall just as we'll support him in his recovery, and he'll be back next year for a great senior season.
With the way the NCAA men's soccer schedule worked out this year, we were only able to get in a week of two-a-days before school started. It was, however, an intense week and I must admit I was impressed with how the team performed. Matt Wiley's "Boot Camp Diary" is definitely worth reading if you want to know the details of two-a-days, or if you simply want to find out how much better Dallas sports teams are than those in Cleveland. It's a nice feeling to know that I will never have to do any of the running tests ever again.
The Cooper Test, a two-mile run in 11:45, is always the most menacing. The team turned in some good times. I was determined not to let a freshman beat me, but alas, Kevin White out-kicked me. Kevin is just one of the freshman that came in focused and ready to go. Usually you can pick out the frosh the first few practices as they are not accustomed to the pace and can appear lost at times. There is always a transition period, but this class has done very well at keeping the level of play at a high standard. Two-a-days seemed to go by pretty fast this year, and it felt like everyone was on the same page and playing together from the beginning.
We ended with two games against division II teams on August 21. We won both games, which we always aim for, but we also got to play together and get many different guys on the field. We had periods where we could have played better, but we also had times where we would put together some nice combinations. There seems to be no problem with cohesion between the newcomers and the returners, and I think we'll be more than ready after the next two weeks of practice for the season opener in Dallas, Texas, against Stanford on September 3.
Coming in to play together is something to look forward to and everyone seemed to have a good week. The real sign that the end was upon us was the start of school. As a senior I'm figuring out why they call it a major. Finance classes make up all five days of the week. The one nice thing is once you get to this level the professors are always very good and know their stuff. If anything, they're willing to help you more and do all that it takes to make sure you understand and are ready for what's next. The workload will be heavy, but May will come very fast.
Once class does start, you always have practice to look forward to. If you're having an awful day, have two tests, whatever, you can forget it all for a couple of hours. Our Monday (8/23) practice, also the first day of classes, consisted mainly of playing. It was a hot day, but everyone really seemed to put the work in, and was glad to be out there. We've moved our practice 10 minutes later so the guys with late classes can still make it on time. We're going to do everything together this year, and that goes from starting practice to winning championships. The senior year is the beginning of the end. It's the last hoorah and I'm excited to get it going and excited to see all that this team can accomplish. Off to practice!
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