Just as Spain's FIFA World Cup did not come overnight, Brown's men's soccer team knows that further success at the big tournament will only come with strong preparation.
"We've been in preseason now for over a week and the team is looking really good," co-captain David Walls '11 wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. "Almost all the team has met the fitness standards which shows that over the summer the players put in a lot of work and have returned in good shape."
Co-captain Paul Grandstrand '11 echoed the sentiment in an e-mail to The Herald. "Everyone has put in hard work during the summer on their own by playing on (Player Development League) teams across the country or by training with other high-level players."
Former Assistant Coach Patrick Laughlin takes over the head coaching position and is joined by Assistant Coach Andrew Biggs, a former head coach at the University of New England.
Both captains agreed that the new coaching staff has brought spirit to the team. Grandstrand wrote that Laughlin "has brought some new energy into the team" and that Briggs "has already made an immediate impact on our training."
Walls said there is still a battle for key roles even though 10 starters are returning from last year, crediting Laughlin and his new coaching style for the competitive spirit.
"There are lots of places up for grabs and the competition amongst players is very intense," Walls wrote.
The players are optimistic that the new competitive energy will lead to success on the field. Though the Bears came in second in the Ivy League and made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament last year, Walls said he thinks the team will go further this year.
"We are very excited to start the season," Walls wrote. "We have a demanding schedule but one in which I think we can be successful."
The Bears finished 11-3-5 last year, with a 5-2 record in Ivy League play that only trailed Harvard's 5-1-1 mark. They outshot their opponents 15-11 per game and outscored them by a 2-1 ratio.
The soccer team kicks off the season with the Ocean State Cup at Bryant University on Friday. Its first home game will be on Sept. 10 against the University of South Carolina.