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McBride begins practice for Lady Lions soccer

By Jonathan Rhodes
On March 15, 2017

Head Coach Christopher McBride teaching his players and helping them to develop their identity as a team. McBride started practices with only nine players, but now that the roster has filled up, he wants them to come together for one goal to win the Southland Conference Championship.
Jonathan Rhodes/The Lion’s Roar

Soccer Head Coach Christopher McBride has started practices and has begun molding the Lady Lions under a new regime. 

McBride had only nine players when he started earlier this semester,.

“It has been going great since we started on Feb. 13,” said McBride. “We had a week off for Mardi Gras break but it has been going good. We had only nine healthy bodies and now we are back up with 14 for practice. So players are getting healthier. They are getting fitter and stronger. Technically, they are getting better with more touches on the ball. So, we are happy with progress right now.”

The Lady Lions are developing their identity in practice and trying to build momentum going into the season. McBride is trying to teach the team to be stronger mentally and physically.

“The girls buy into the identity we are trying to build,” said McBride. “It is not just me giving them an identity. It is what we want together as a team. They buy into what we developing in practice and what we are trying to work for the games and for the fall as well.”

Freshman Midfielder Linda Karlsson likes how McBride runs the team and his vision for the Lady Lions.

“I feel like he really has a good style in the way he wants us to play,” said Karlsson. “He wants to get us there and we are learning how to work well as a team. He has a good idea of where he wants us to be.”

As practices go along, the players are building their relationships on the field and hoping that it will show once the season starts. Junior defender Lauren Babcock believes individual goals and team goals are one in the same.

“I think a lot of our individual goals are to be working as a team,” said Babcock. “I think every single person has that in their mind. We are a team. We are going to work together. We are going to score together and we are going to win together. Our individuals goals match our team goals.” 

Throughout the next two months, the Lady Lions will have intrasquad scrimmages and will face Mississippi College on Apr. 8 at home.

“We start our first game next Thursday,” said McBride. “So we’ll get to open it out and get to dissect the game and analyze the game and see how they perform. They are a very athletic group and are very willing to work hard. They really want to improve. Right now, the biggest strength of the team is that we want to get better. That’s a great asset to have on a team, and it’s great for me as a coach because the harder they want to work, the easier my job is.”

As of right now, the coaching staff is complete according to McBride. Assistant coach Mary Mancin brings a lot of experience after being goalkeeper coach at the University of Tennessee at Martin last year and at Belmont University the year before. She also served as the graduate assistant coach at her alma mater Columbus State University.

“Primarily, she will be working with the goalkeepers, but she will have a heavy hand in coaching the field players as well,” said McBride. “She is very experienced for a young coach. She has been at several good successful programs and she has a lot of hunger. She wants to do better we are lucky to have her and the girls really like her as well.”

The Lady Lions wish to look forward and change the program in a positive way. All of the players are united in achieving one goal as a team and are united in achieving their personal goals.

“The team themselves set their own goals,” said McBride. “They have individual goals as well, but as a team, they have set their own goals. We try not to dwell on last year or the years before that because every single year, you get a different squad. So, we set new goals based on that. Last year, there was a team that went undefeated in conference. So, that is a big target on their backs. When the fall comes, we will take it one game at a time, see where we go and make sure that we peak at the right time of the year.”

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