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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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How does men’s soccer train for the fall?

Forward Casey Welage (8) and midfielder Jake Pollock (25) chase after the ball at men’s soccer practice at Lakeside Field. (Luther Yoder)

For most, summers are about relaxation, vacation, and spending time with friends. For athletes this isn’t always the case. Summer is a foundation for the fall. It holds a lot of importance for building one’s fitness and fine-tuning individual skills.

For Eastern’s men’s soccer team, what summer looks like differs depending on the player. Some play for summer teams, while others choose to train individually.

Junior Casey Welage, forward, and senior Chad Smith, goalkeeper, both are playing for Kings Hammer FC in the USL2 this summer. Kings Hammer FC is a semi-professional team based in Cincinnati. They have a wide variety of talent ranging from large-school, Division I athletes to small school athletes.

Sophomore goalkeeper Lucas Ortiz is playing for Steel City FC which is also a semi-professional team. Steel City FC competes in the MIdwest Premier League (MWPL) and Northern Illinois Soccer League (NISL). They’re based in the south suburbs of Chicago.

Playing for a team over the summer has its many benefits, whether it is getting more reps or dialing in on one’s specific skills. EIU is currently without a goalkeeper coach, so for the goalkeepers, summer training is essential.

For Smith, his favorite part of summer training is goalkeeper training, or “The Goalkeeper Union”, as it is commonly referred to.

“A couple times a week we are separated from the field players to do our own thing,” said Smith. “We have a great group of guys, competitive yet supportive when the time is right. We have a laugh yet get a lot of work done. The goalkeeper coach is fantastic as well and helps facilitate our growth and experience.”

Ortiz uses summer training with a similar intention.

“The work in the summer translates by repetitions and getting game time which allows me to be match fit and prepared mentally and physically going into the season”

While playing on a team, players are able to keep their competitive fire while building relationships with other highly competitive players.

There are many challenges when it comes to summer training, ranging from overworking one’s body to finding the perfect balance between life and soccer.

There are many factors. Welage searches for the perfect mix.

“Finding the perfect mix between training, running, and lifting without pushing my body over the top,” said Welage, on what he uses his summer “offseason” for. “I find joy in doing all of these things. So, at times it’s hard to say I can’t go on a run today because I did however many miles at training this morning and I can’t destroy my leg”

In the summer months, hydration and heat are factors to keep in mind for the soccer team.

“Some challenges with summer training are the heat and continuous training,” said Welage. “It’s the middle of the summer so battling heat is a daily challenge but one we can work through with proper hydration.”

Some athletes choose to train on their own over the summer, their main focus is individual skills.

Number 3, William Bruce fights for control over the ball with a Southern Indiana player during the home soccer game at Lakeside Field Saturday afternoon. The Panthers lost 3-2 against Southern Indiana. (Hannah Fergurson)

“The majority of the summer is fine tuning your own skills, not only are you trying to keep up to the division one level technically but also trying to improve your game and ability.” commented senior William Bruce “I have to stay sharp on the ball technically and then as the summer progresses you gradually build up your fitness going into preseason, you start running more to mimic game scenarios, you don’t want to be at 100% going into camp because you’ll burn out and could lead to injury later in the season or early on.”

As they progress into preseason early August and then into their fall season they will adjust back to tactics and formations, working with the team as a whole.

The men will kick off their 2024 season with a home opener against University of Chicago on August 22nd.


Chloe Proffitt can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]. 

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About the Contributors
Chloe Proffitt
Chloe Proffitt, Sports Reporter
Chloe Proffitt is a freshman nutrition and dietetics major and can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].
Luther Yoder
Luther Yoder, Assistant Sports Editor
Luther Yoder is a sophomore journalism major. This is his first year at The News.

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