Lansing United held its first practice of 2016 on Sunday, as the club welcomed the new season with preparation for its third summer in the National Premier Soccer League.
Sunday’s first training session was about setting the tone and establishing a culture for the upcoming season, which begins Saturday at home with a friendly against the Ann Arbor Football Club.
“This is where the real work starts, it’s exciting,” United head coach Nate Miller said. “We don’t have everybody here yet, but this week will be a really important week for the squad. We’re going to train everyday this week to get acclimated with each other and get everybody on the same page.”
The tempo of the two-hour session at the East Lansing Soccer Complex remained high throughout, with the players who came to town from more than five different states taking time to introduce themselves and their playing style to their new teammates.
With less than a week to train before the club’s first match of the season, it was important for Coach Miller to start the process of bringing the team together on the right track.
“It’s always interesting getting a bunch of guys who have pretty much never played together for the first time,” Miller said. “They all come from such diverse background and have such distinct playing styles, but we have to be one here pretty quick.”
Coach Miller and his staff believe the team will have a distinct, attack-minded style of play that features younger players who have something to prove. Heading into the May 13 NPSL opener at Dayton, Miller said that the competition in training will be intense, with all starting 11 spots potentially up for grabs.
Above all else, though, every player who features for United this season will embody the culture that Miller and his coaching staff want to establish.
“The culture really is who the guys are,” he said. “I’m turning the roster over quite a bit, so internally it’ll be a little different. But as far as the ethos of the club, it’s very community focused. They’re proud to represent the city of Lansing. So I think match day will be a very exciting thing to be a part of.”