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Second-year soccer coach Brizard ready for 'normal' preseason camp

Regular season opens with home matches Aug. 19 and 21

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- For Tennessee Tech's second-year head coach Daniel Brizard, having a ‘normal’ preseason soccer camp on tap beginning Wednesday is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Brizard, who completed his first season at Tech in 2010, says he is looking forward to integrating his nine newcomers into an established system rather than starting from scratch.

“Last year, I was still getting to know the team in the preseason,” Brizard said. “This year, I’m trying to integrate nine players into a team that already knows me, and I know them. This camp will be a little more relaxed, and more like a typical college preseason.”

The Golden Eagles check in on campus on Wednesday and begin training Thursday, giving them seven days before an exhibition match against Alabama A&M on Aug. 11.

For the first four days of camp, Brizard and his coaching staff will put the players through two-a-days in which they will take part in fitness standards and technical training in the morning followed by scrimmages and gameplay scenarios in the afternoon.

Beginning on Aug. 8, the team will rotate between one and two training sessions per day, then travel to Huntsville, Ala., for the Aug. 11 exhibition. After facing Alabama A&M, the team will travel to the Ocoee River in east Tennessee for a day of whitewater rafting on Friday, Aug. 12.

After a brief hiatus from campus, the Golden Eagles will return Saturday, Aug. 13, and begin another stretch of training before opening the regular season on Friday, Aug. 19 against UT Chattanooga at the Tech Soccer Field.

Throughout camp, team members will be volunteering their time on several occasions each week at Parkview Elementary School in Cookeville, where players perform community service throughout the season on an individual basis.  

Other camp events include team pictures on Aug. 9 and on-campus move-in day on Aug. 18.

With a high number of newcomers joining the Golden Eagles to replace nine letterwinners lost from the 2010 campaign, Brizard says the preseason will be a particularly crucial time for his club. The roster features just one senior in Lindsey Reed, a defender from Denver.

“A lot about preseason is getting everybody on the same page,” he says. “We’re not going to be learning a lot of new stuff, but instead getting better at what we know.

“Some of our freshmen will have an impact immediately, some of them will take longer. Some of our returnees are going to have to fight for their jobs. But that competition will be healthy, and that’s what we want.”