This year’s men’s and women’s soccer is focused on team building. Drew Guarneri, head coach of the men’s and women’s soccer team has been getting his players to focus on teamwork in an effort to improve from last year’s season. With no starters returning from last year’s women’s team and only seven returning for the men’s, recruiting was a key part in building a soccer program that was focused on teamwork.
While recruiting players this year, Guarneri had gone with an open approach. He looked at players with good work ethic and character.
“We have been very up-front with players when recruiting this year,” Guarneri said. “The players knew what was expected of them before they joined the team.”
“Rather than going with strong players who are used to being the center of the team, we have gone with quality players who are also team players.”
Communication was a problem with last year’s team, so Guarneri has worked to fix that with the recruits he has brought in this year.
“A lot of last year’s team wasn’t here for soccer. Most were solely here for school and treated soccer with less importance.”
“This year’s team is here not only for education, but because they also have a hunger to be successful at college level soccer,” Guarneri said.
“We’re so far ahead of last year,” Guarneri said. “These kids know what is expected of them. This is my first full year as coach and I want to show what we can develop as a group. My goal is that we compete every game this season.”
“Seeing victory is partly the key, but not all. We need to become family, which is just as important,” Guarneri said.
Guarneri has instituted an annual soccer camp located in Show Low, which he plans to attend with future teams before every season.
“The four-day event allows the men’s and women’s teams to build together,” Guarneri said.
“It allows everyone to see how each other click off the field, which means more understanding on the field.”
“The camp is hard training but gives both teams a chance to meet new people and build up bonds,” Guarneri said.
Guarneri said his teams are ready for their season openers against Gateway Community College on August 28.
“We started practices on Aug 1, and have been doing two-a-day practice. We are fresh and hungry,” Guarneri said.