The Slippery Rock University men’s soccer team is preparing to start their season this weekend with a home-field tournament that includes Mercyhurst University, Tiffin University, and Ashland University.
Head coach Michael Bonelli feels confident in his team’s ability to perform well during the tournament and be highly competitive this season.
Bonelli is entering his third year as Slippery Rock’s head coach and has found that the team has adjusted to his coaching style. It can be hard to establish a level of confidence and understanding between new coaches and players at first.
Slippery Rock ended their 2011 season with a record of 7-8-2. Now that Bonelli and his team have been together for a few years, things are running much more efficiently.
“Last season was a good, solid year for us,” Bonelli said. “We needed to encounter those bumps in order to get to where we are now.”
Preseason gave the Rock time to come together as a team, address past season mistakes, and prepare for the season. Bonelli felt that they performed well during the preseason and are ready for the regular season to begin.
Bonelli has noticed that there is a more team-like atmosphere among the guys than before. This atmosphere has allowed many strengths to emerge during the preseason.
“There is a lot of depth this season,” Bonelli said. “I believe that the leadership and experience the veteran players have on the field will be an advantage compared to past seasons that had a primarily younger team”
The depth and amount of experience on the team will be tested during the tournament. Bonelli believes that depth will help make sure that the players on the field are always refreshed and on top of their game. He is confident in each player’s ability to perform at their best.