The SRU men’s soccer program hosted an open practice Thursday night at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium as part of National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s (NSCAA) first-ever Open Training week in cities across the nation.
College coaches from the surrounding areas, who are in conjunction with the NSCAA were in attendance as they got training sessions from SRU men’s soccer head coach Steven Small and his assistant coach Ryan Lutke. Coach Small hopes the practice will help coaches share and improve ideas about the game.
“It’s a good way for coaches to network and get new ideas,” Small said. “We want to help coaches develop relationships with each other and in the community.”
NSCAA asked colleges to have open training sessions this week as part of their Open Training Week to not only help college coaches but coaches at all levels such as club teams, in order for them to experience higher levels of training. Roughly 10 to 12 coaches from surrounding area schools were in attendance to feed off and learn from one another.
“I am going to go through a basic training session we would normally do,” Small said. “Then afterward answer any questions that any of the coaches might have about what we covered, how we covered things, and why we covered the things that we did.”
Attendees who participated didn’t have to be an NSCAA member, but those who weren’t, received a free, six-month trial membership for participating in the training session. With this being the first year NSCAA has done something like this, Small hopes it will become an every year event.
“I think it’s a really great thing,” Small said. “It’s an opportunity to interact with the community, know the coaches, and it gives others a chance to see what the next level is all about.”
SRU is included in the 200 plus schools and professional teams across the country that are registered to participate in the training week, which started on April 3. and will run through the ninth.
“I like the fact that it is in the spring as well,” Small said. “Because then it really doesn’t interfere with your regular season in the fall, and in the spring time we can focus on some things that we normally wouldn’t deal with in the fall.”
Small hopes the event will get SRU men’s soccer name out there even more as the men’s team has qualified for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Tournament in seven of the last nine seasons, but missing this past season’s tournament with a 5-9-2 record.
“We want to show how we are doing things, along with the progressions we are making, and to continue to develop relationships in this area to put Slippery Rock on the map,” Small said.