By: Bryan Giese
In Wisconsin, it can be a very long winter. It’s even longer when your love and passion is playing on the pitch of Hart Park or on any soccer field for that matter. For many clubs and organizations, soccer turns into an indoor, enclosed game around November and doesn’t see the green of fresh grass (or outdoor turf) until late March or early April. That can be a very long time for some.
With all that time spent indoors, how can a player maintain their skills? How can they prepare their bodies for the upcoming season? And how can they use this time to help prevent injuries during the summer months?
For many players on the Milwaukee Torrent the game of soccer is year-round. As Samuel Biek explains, it’s a bit different here then it was back home.
“In Germany, winter break is only one month long, but the weather still allows for you to play outside. Now that I am here, playing futsal during the winter has really helped me grow as a player.”
Many clubs in southeastern Wisconsin have been able to continue their programs through the winter by building or renting indoor space that gets converted into soccer or futsal courts. In an article presented on Goal Nation, English FA studies have indicated that playing a game of futsal leads to individuals touching the ball six times more often than in standard 11 v 11 matches.
This increase in touches and fast decision making that needs to be done indoors, benefits the play and readiness for many Torrent players. “It helps with touches, especially playing in small spaces” says Torrent Women’s Central Midfielder, Robyn Elliott. “You can translate that part to the outdoor game when you’re in a space with not a lot of room, now you know how to get out of it.”
Beyond the touches and the learning environment that is created playing indoors, the Milwaukee Torrent players spend the winter months preparing themselves physically for the coming season. Training and exercise are an ongoing ritual for all. For some, like in the case of Torrent striker, Michael DaSilva, training really doesn’t change much from season to season.
“My exercise routine is generally through play. I play year round, between the Torrent and the Milwaukee Wave. The amount I play is a little more during the summer time, but typically I play year round.”
For central midfielder, Samuel Biek, the winter months brings more of a change in how he trains. “In the winter, I lift more weights to increase muscle mass, because in the summer, I am not able to build muscle as much due to playing more. I have to lift less in order to prevent injury and to maintain my body weight. I work on increasing my flexibility during the winter months as well, doing more stretching to increase that as opposed to the summer when we stretch to prevent injuries.”
Kerry Geocaris, Milwaukee Torrent Women’s defender, agrees that the winter months are a good time to work on strength and conditioning training. “I spend 3 days a week working on building strength, along with three to four days a week of yoga, seven days per week of good clean eating, ball skills training every day, and recovery things like physical therapy, cryotherapy, dry needling and massage.”
As a team, Coach Davi has partnered with Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin to implement a preparation program for his players. “This program is designed to build speed, quickness and agility. It primarily focuses on plyometric and coordination exercises” explains Coach Davi.
As the season draws near, and the weather finally warms up, the Milwaukee Torrent players and coaches are excited about getting back outside.
“It’s fun playing inside, but there is nothing quite like the fresh air and open spaces of outdoor soccer” states DaSilva.
“From a technical learning side, indoor and futsal are great, but we are very excited to get back outdoors to work on the tactical side of training” explains Coach Davi.
The Milwaukee Torrent’s 2018 campaign begins April 22nd at 3pm when the men’s team takes on UW-Parkside in a friendly at Hart Park.