Over the next week, we will be highlighting FCUSA NJ alumni who recently experienced their first college soccer preseason.
They will share the emotions of moving away from family and friends, living in a different state, meshing with new teammates, impressing a new coaching staff, all while enduring the demands of preseason training.
FCUSA NJ, a youth soccer club based in Morristown, New Jersey, currently has 59 boys & girls alumni playing college soccer, along with 4 professional soccer players. FCUSA, soon to be Steel United, is one of the fastest-growing youth soccer clubs in the country. Now with clubs in seven states, we are committed to maximizing each player’s potential on and off the field, while practicing our core values of teamwork, respect, integrity, and commitment.
To start, we took a deep dive with Ursinus College freshman Julian Lyons, a center midfielder from Columbia High School in Maplewood. Julian played for the club five of the past six years, along with prepping with the FCUSA NJ u20 team this past summer.
“I knew I had to be at a certain level of fitness and physicality coming into the college season. At the beginning of the summer, I knew I wasn’t close to where I needed to be. I knew I had to put in a lot of work during my off time from my day job. Meaning my summer was jam-packed with work and working out all the time. My college coach gave me a few workouts to be doing to be prepared. I would do those almost every day and even get some shots in or a scrimmage as often as possible. I can tell you that even doing all of this, I still wasn’t fully prepared for college preseason camp.
Preseason was probably one of the hardest weeks of my life for a couple of different reasons. One of them being that most of the other guys on the team are returning members and already had an idea of what to expect from preseason…the amount of work you are required to put in. The other freshmen and I, on the other hand, had no clue.
It was a lot tougher than I ever thought it would be on both the mental and physical sides of things. Even though I thought I did a lot over the summer I still was not as prepared as I needed to be.
One major thing that helped me get accommodated was that athletes got to move in a week earlier than the rest of the students. Classes didn’t start until two weeks after I arrived so that really helped me stay focused on soccer, so I was less stressed out and overwhelmed. Although this meant that we had to have double and even triple sessions per day. I was the most drained and tired I have ever been. I had to keep pushing through as I knew it would only make me prepared for the season.
As an incoming freshman, there are a lot of worries and stresses about moving in and getting used to life as a college student. Playing college soccer was one of the best decisions I have made because it made the transition go very smoothly. Many regular students have to worry about making new friends and learning the ins and outs of the school, but being a part of the soccer team is like already having a group of friends to come into who will protect you and answer any of the questions you may have. My teammates have shown me many strategies of how they have been successful in balancing work and soccer as a freshman.
Being that I am a freshman I wasn’t expecting to get a lot of playing time. I showed the coaching staff the best of what I could do, and I hope to continue down this path and keep improving to show the coaches I deserve a starting spot.
My best advice for incoming college freshmen would be to come into preseason as prepared as you possibly can be and when you get to college don’t be shy. Show people who you really are because people respect that and it shows a lot about your character. Also, practice time management as much as possible because college is completely different than high-school. In college, you have a lot more free time on your hands and you can’t save everything for the last minute. Always know what work you have and use the resources your school is offering because they truly will help you.”
Keep an eye out for additional college freshman soccer stories over the next couple days.
For more information on the FCUSA college development program click here.