With the rich tradition of the Tippecanoe boys’ soccer program, head coach Scott Downing knows the importance of off season work. As the season grows closer, Downing and the Red Devils have put in some solid work with the start of practice set for August 1.
“We have been having open fields and for the most part we have had good turnouts with around 25 kids and alumni coming back,” Downing said. “It can be hit or miss, but I feel the overall commitment has been good so far this summer.” Downing added he has 10 coaching days to use with the team, so he has been using them for camps and the upcoming Northmont tournament.
“We have camp set for July 17-20 at the practice fields, and the following weekend we are at Northmont,” he added. “We do a lot of 7-12 grade technical work at camp, and try to make it fun for them. This gives us a chance to do a lot of skills work and get a look at the kids who are coming out. It gives me a chance to evaluate them and not just see them on the first day of tryouts.”
The Northmont event will give the Red Devils a chance to compete with some of the top teams in Columbus and Cincinnati in all divisions.
“The mindset is a chance to look at the kids in more of a game like situation,” he said. “We can try certain kids at certain positions. It is nice to win, but that is not the main reason we are there.”
“During the summer, we work on skills and individual development,” Downing said. “The last ten years, kids are doing so much training, individual workout is a lost thing. Overall in the concept of playing, kids are getting better training but it is taking away from kids from playing on their own.”
With several key seniors graduated from last year’s GWOC championship team, Downing is expecting the players who return to compete for several opportunities this summer.
“I have high expectations for them,” he said. “I always look to win the league and do the best we can during the season. We also want to make to district and move on. We lost some key players at key spots but we have a pretty good group of kids returning. This year will be different trying to fill spots from 2-3 year starters.”
With the Red Devils coming into the new season as the defending league champs after winning it their first year, he feels that things won’t be any different again this year with his kids competing for the title.
“It hasn’t been a big change for us, outside of league in CBC, we scrimmaged or played most of these teams,” he said. “We are used to playing those teams and we have done well against them.”
“When you win the league, the teams close by becomes more of a rival, and teams will be up to play us.”