Progressing into the 2020-2021 school year, countless sports programs have been limited or even restricted from competing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the Greenville University women’s soccer team has been blessed with an opportunity to compete this upcoming spring. Since the lady panther’s fall season was prolonged until spring, the team had utilized this time to work on individual skills and build a more unified team. During those long months, the ladies had encountered various physical and mental challenges. However, these hardships have allowed for the Greenville University women’s soccer team to learn from each other and strengthen the team as a whole.
The Greenville University women’s soccer team successfully finished their 2019 fall season with a record of 11-8-2 and secured a SLIAC championship title. Advancing into this upcoming spring season, expectations have been modified by the coaching staff. In an interview with Greenville University’s women’s head soccer coach, Jeff Wardlaw voiced, “I think the expectations of the season will be focused more on the mental side of things. We have to prepare the team and wrap their brains around the fact that we are entering the season during a pandemic, but also during a time of the year that’s super unfamiliar.”
The lady panther’s will be taking on a much more difficult schedule this spring. They will begin the season by traveling to the University of Illinois Springfield for a match at 2:00 p.m. on February 20. The Greenville women’s soccer team has been working hard this winter break and preseason in order to prepare for the high level of competition that they are about to undergo. “Besides mental health, I think in the beginning we will need to focus on adapting to the cold and strengthening our fitness. We have to ensure that the team is ready for the competitive side of games without dealing with injuries”, expressed Wardlaw.
As the panther’s move into their long awaited season, they centered their attention on the positive aspects of the team in order to pass through these hard times. Wardlaw indicated, “I’m really trying to teach the team how to come together during these times and I think that we can work on showing the gratitude that our team is lacking. We still have the opportunity to play when so much of the world is still shut down.” With this being said, the Greenville University women’s soccer team will be grinding into the season with a different type of edge.
As a team, Greenville consists of four seniors, four juniors, seven sophomores, and seven freshman. Wardlaw conveyed, “On the field, we have very good leadership from the veterans but we are a fairly young team. My hope is that when our team gets on the field that there is a normality that takes over.”
At the end of the day, the Greenville University women’s soccer team is most definitely excited to be able to compete once again. Wardlaw communicated, “So many universities are not able to play or they aren’t even in school, we have to quit complaining and appreciate what we do have.” Overall, the lady panthers are grateful for the opportunity to be able to compete and are anxious to see where this season takes them.