Tucson, Ariz. – The University of Arizona Wildcats soccer team began the 2014 campaign on Wednesday with a fitness test in the morning followed by a two-hour session at Mulcahy Stadium in the evening.
“It’s the best time of the year,” head coach Tony Amato said. “We’re excited to get up and running. They’ve been chomping at the bit to actually get out here and play. They haven’t been able to work with us (coaching staff) and it’s been a lot of work with our strength coach.”
The fitness test that the squad participated in, is called “the beep test.” The test entails running continuously between two points that are usually 20 mters apart from side to side. These runs are synchronized with a beep or whistle, at set intervals. As the test proceeds, the interval between each successive beep decreases, forcing the athlete to increase their speed over the course of the test, until it is impossible to keep in sync with the recording or if the athlete completes the test.
“The beep test is what you would expect,” Amato said. “They’ve been working hard all summer and they came in fit. Some need some work but it was a good start and it was exactly what you would expect on the first day.”
Later in the evening, the squad convened at Mulcahy Stadium for the first official practice of the season, breaking in their new cleats as well as the new Nike soccer balls.
“There was a lot of energy, a lot of excitement,” Amato said. “I thought they carried that energy from the start of practice through to the end of the practice. We have to fine-tune a lot of that excitement and channel it in the right direction, in terms of how we want to play. If they weren’t excited and didn’t have a lot of energy today, we would be asking a lot of questions. We feel good about it and we’ll keep moving forward.”
The Wildcats will return to practice on Thursday for two sessions at Mulcahy Stadium.
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