It’s difficult to ignore the electricity in the air when entering a Columbus Eagles training session. Anticipation grows as the Women’s Premier Soccer League franchise begins its fifth season with a friendly against Ohio Wesleyan on April 7th in Delaware, Ohio.
The Eagles come into this season on the heels of a franchise-best finish just one year ago. After a hot start to its WPSL campaign, Columbus finished in third place in the Valley Division in 2017.
Midfielder Mary Seiffert saw tremendous growth in the club and is proud of the way the team handled itself throughout the season. The captain of the Eagles cannot wait to get the 2018 campaign underway and welcomes all challenges.
“I’m excited,” said Seiffert. “I think new opponents (will present a challenge). I think that is something that is always fun. You don’t know much about them so that can be tough but being able to step on a field and just bring what we have. More teams are in our division (this season) so we get to see more teams in league play and that says a lot because there are more challenges that we can accomplish.”
Her husband and head coach Daniel Seiffert views things through a different looking glass.
Daniel was promoted to head coach of the Eagles in December 2017 and takes over after earning his “A” license from U.S. Soccer. Seiffert puts a tremendous emphasis on the psychology of his players and looks to build sets of “communities” between the position groups. He admires everything about the club and looks forward to coming to work every day.
“It’s an exciting time to see what hard work and dedication does,” said Seiffert of his club. “None of these women have to show up three times a week, late at night and in harsh conditions. To have that commitment, it’s absolutely first class. It makes you look forward to every training session and every single game because it’s a great group of community we get to work with.”
Second-year midfielder Summer Bourcier is still relatively new to the Eagles. Her style of play and confidence vastly improved for the Eagles in the later portions of the 2017 season.
Although she is tiny in stature, Bourcier is one of the more charismatic players on the field, emerging as a leader. She formed bonds with many of the players and developed chemistry, which shows in training sessions.
This year she feels more relaxed with the team ahead of a big season.
“I think more confidence is probably a huge thing,” Bourcier said of her second year. “Coming in knowing most of the girls, knowing the coaches, knowing the expectation of each training session. It makes it a little easier to get with the flow, get excited for the practices, the games and everything we need. It’s huge coming in with confidence.”
With so much going in their favor heading into the year, the Eagles aspire to great things in 2018. And a player like Bourcier isn’t afraid to admit it.
“I think we have a shot at coming in second or winning the division,” Bourcier said.
Like most head coaches, Seiffert remains committed to taking it one day at a time, going as far as borrowing the mantra of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, stating “I just want to have a good practice on Thursday.”