AU men’s soccer team welcomes new head coach Nick Roberts


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Joseph Renner playing for men’s soccer

Dean Paolucci, Reporter

The men’s soccer team at Ashland University will not be playing a fall season this year according to the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

The GLIAC announced on Aug. 11 that the conference would suspend all competition until Jan. 1, 2021, a moment that first year head coach Nick Roberts and the team found extremely difficult.

“You feel for the kids,” Roberts said. “They work all year for this stuff. I was a student athlete myself so I know what they must be going through, but it is what it is.”

Roberts will begin his first year at Ashland University coming over from Urbana University, where Roberts was the head coach since 2008. While at Urbana, Roberts was named Great Midwest Conference Coach of the Year in 2012 and Mountain East Coach of the Year in 2016.

“It’s a little bit strange for me being a new coach,” Roberts said. “I guess if there is any silver lining, it gives me a little bit of a chance to work with the guys on a training basis, get a feel for where they are at and where the program is at.”

While the team will not have any competition in the 2020 fall season, the team has begun practice and workouts but must do so under certain guidelines directly from Ashland University.

“Numbers are the problem since right now we are working with groups of 10 that are split up,” Roberts said. 

“That eliminates what you really wanna do, which is the 11-on-11 game situation. That’s a big part of our practice so we have to do a lot of small exercises and a lot of technical work with that time instead.”

Roberts also stated that due to there being no competition in the GLIAC in 2020, keeping motivation will be key.

“In all the preseasons I’ve been through over the years, you get three weeks into training and you are already sick of the preseason and want to just go out and play the games,” Roberts said. “That is gonna be tough, no matter what competitive sport it is.”

Roberts did say that the GLIAC presidents athletic directors and coaches from the schools in the conference were meeting and discussing the idea of a potential spring season that would be “around seven games and then going right into the conference tournament.” However, the GLIAC has yet to announce anything yet directly on whether fall sports would be pushed to the spring season.

“The kids are ready,” Roberts said. “The numbers look great and they look to be in great shape and I know they wanna get out there.”