Aug 18, 2013
The Wolverines will give fans the inside scoop on the goings on of Michigan men's soccer all season in the Blue Collar Blog. Tyler Arnone is first up.
What's up Michigan fans? This is junior team co-captain Tyler Arnone bringing you the first installment of our 2013 team blog, the "Blue Collar Blog," which will give you an inside look at our squad's pursuit of a Big Ten title and NCAA Tournament berth.
It feels amazing to be back in Ann Arbor getting ready to head into my junior season. Being home in New York this was great because I got to spend quality time with my family and friends but I missed Ann Arbor greatly. I had an extremely busy and productive summer. I left Ann Arbor at the end of the spring semester happy after completing a successful year on the field and in the classroom but still wanted more. I was also happy with how our 2012 team finished but knew there was plenty of room for improvement individually. So I headed home with a purpose and on a mission. I wanted to get stronger, faster, more fit, and improve on all soccer qualities.
So over the summer when I wasn't training on my own I was playing with the Long Island Rough Riders; one of the premier PDL teams in the country. The Rough Riders are an extremely professional organization that always puts together a strong team and competes for league titles year after year in one of the toughest PDL conferences. The PDL is a respected and competitive league because it hosts most top college players for the summer. My time with the Rough Riders went well. We had a winning record and I had a major role in the midfield, contributing to the team's success with a couple of goals and assists.
I stopped playing in the PDL in the month of July because of two huge opportunities that came my way. Coach Daley called me over the summer telling me that I was invited to train with the Philadelphia Union and Sporting Kansas City for one week each; who are two top Major League Soccer organizations that are currently having a successful season. Initially I was a bit nervous but realized that this was a great opportunity to test myself at the next level. Both experiences were different in their own way but one thing was for sure; I found out a lot about myself. Playing in a professional environment revealed my strengths and weaknesses as a soccer player. Training with the Philadelphia Union was special because the College Cup this season will be held at their home stadium, in PPL Park. I was there to train and want to go back this year wearing the Maize & Blue for the College Cup! The experience with Sporting Kansas City was unique because I was there with my roommate Fabio Pereira! These two opportunities are ones that I will never forget as an inspiring footballer and I am forever grateful to Michigan for providing me the stage and the platform to not only pursue a career in soccer but a long sought after dream of mine of being a professional soccer player.
The summer ended and I headed back into Ann Arbor on August 3rd. Saying goodbye to my friends and family is never easy but I was eager to start the season! On August 4th Adam and I held captain practices to begin our 2013 campaign and there was a great turn out from the boys. Everyone came in voluntarily 10 days before actual preseason began and I think that says a lot about this year's team and our commitment to excellence.
After a full day of meetings on Tuesday talking about the culture of Michigan soccer and what needs to be done to be successful, we hit the field for the first time together as a full squad. Coach Daley and his staff laid out the blueprint for success and we could see lot of work needed to be done but you could tell everyone is excited. Currently we are on our preseason trip in Louisville getting ready to play our first exhibition versus Louisville. Louisville is among the top college soccer programs in the country and will be a true test for our team. We have to be ready for another tough schedule this year and playing on the road and with just three days to prepare will be a good reference to see what our group is all about.
We have a talented freshmen class that has adapted to our Michigan Soccer culture quickly. Personally I am really excited about this year because we have a great balance of youth and experience within our team. This trip has helped our team chemistry because we spend so much time with one another. We concluded our meeting last night by teaching the freshmen "Hail to the Victors" and sang it together for the first time as a team.
Being named captain was truly humbling. Being a captain at this institution means a lot, especially with all the great people, players, and leaders that came before me. To be a captain is a responsibility that I will do anything for the success of the team and my teammates. I will lead by example on and off the field and be someone that my teammates and coaches trust in moments where I am needed. Even though I am co-captain with Adam Grinwis, this team will be lead by an entire senior class. One of the strengths of this team is the personalities of the senior class, as it is full of leaders that want to cement their legacy here at Michigan and only have one more go at it. The seniors got a taste of what it's like to make a run to the College Cup and are motivated to go even further this year.
Thanks for reading the first installment of this year's blog, and please check back throughout the year as myself and my teammates keep you in the know on all there is to know about U-M men's soccer!