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As I always say, soccer brings life-long lessons to athletes. Soccer helps an athlete to be mentally and physically strong. It helps us to adapt and be resilient. Today, more than ever, we must draw on these skills to prepare for what is ahead of us for this pandemic.

In mid May, we opened up our facility to begin individual training. I saw athletes who had great smiles on their faces as they returned to the sport they love. It gave each one of the athletes hope. Many of my athletes have been doing some type of physical training for the past two months but expressed the physical and mental challenges of getting back into soccer.

The next few months will be difficult. This is a new environment for us all. To get through this time, athletes will need to be mentally and physically resilient. How? Here are some tips for all athletes as we prepare for the months ahead:

1) Find Purpose in today! We cannot control the future. But we can control what we do today. Don’t put off training to tomorrow. There is no better time than the present to train, train and train. It keeps you focused on healthy activities and gives you a sense of purpose. We are all coming back from two months hiatus from soccer games. It is easy to sit on the couch and get into a negative zone. Stay positive and focused on what you can do today to prepare for soccer.

2) Create a Training Plan! We must remain focused what it takes to prepare for the fall season. I encourage every family and every athlete to map out a plan of what you’ll do on a daily or weekly basis over the summer to get ready for the next season. Gradually build back your physical and mental fitness as well as your technique and tactical understanding of the game. Remember, while there are no current soccer games available, there are plenty of games on YouTube to watch and dissect soccer games.

3) Stay positive! As hard as it is sometime, we must keep a positive outlook. I have loved seeing athletes come back to train at Excel. The love for soccer is evident in their smiles. They are grateful to play a sport that brings so much joy and happiness. Capture that appreciation and keep the positive thinking going!

4) Work with your team! Soccer is a team-sport. Partner with other athletes to help prepare for the fall season. We need the energy and support from our team members now more than ever. We need to motivate each other and help us to grow in all aspects of our soccer game. I have enjoyed seeing the online videos from many different sport teams. Proud to see my own high school team’s video. Keep it going! It provides more than just a two-second video clip – it engages the team and creates positive energy and support. Think of creative ongoing ways to engage your teammates.

While I am excited with the prospects of getting through the pandemic and back to soccer, I think it is important to be realistic. The pandemic is not going away tomorrow. We must adjust to keep ourselves healthy and safe. That is why the above tips are so important. We must adapt to the current situation and be resilient to get through this challenging time. We will get through this pandemic together.

And most importantly, we will be stronger as a result. And remind yourself – is there anything better than soccer in this world?

Stay healthy and safe.

Cheers, Coach Tibi

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