Head Coach Richard Mulrooney and the University of Memphis men’s soccer team begins their spring season this weekend. The initial spring match is against NAIA opponent, Cumberland University on Feb. 17.
The spring season runs through April and includes seven matches. The Tigers will play two more matches than they did in the 2017 spring campaign.
“I would say our game plan for the spring matches is to help individual players improve technically and tactically with the minutes they are going to receive in games and practices, as well as mold the players together as a unit, so we can become that much more of a team,” Mulrooney said. “We lost quite a few players from the fall, and we have added some for this spring. So we have a lot of work to do in regards to team bonding, and I believe all six of these games along with practices will help us reach that goal.”
The Tigers will stay in Memphis for most of the spring season, as five of the seven matches are at home. The team will play four home matches at the Park Avenue Campus and one home contest at Mike Rose Soccer Complex. Memphis concludes the spring with two away matches: at the University of Alabama at Birmingham on April 7 and at Lipscomb on April 14.
After the friendly game against Cumberland, Memphis will play a doubleheader against Christian Brothers and Central Arkansas on Feb. 24. Both matches will be played at the Park Avenue Campus. The kickoff time for the CBU match is 10 a.m., and the kickoff time for the UCA match is 2 p.m.
The lone match at Mike Rose Soccer Complex is different from the rest of the spring matches. Memphis will host an Irish team that is comprised of an assortment of high school players from all over the country. The match is slated for March 22 at 4 p.m.
Memphis will head back to the Park Avenue Campus for a 1 p.m. match against Maryville on March 24.
Memphis finishes the spring season against two teams they faced in the 2016 fall season. The Tigers fell to UAB at the start of the season and were later defeated by Lipscomb. The spring matches do not mean anything for the regular season standings, but these two matches will hold a competitive atmosphere as Memphis looks for redemption.
“We need to have a focus going into these games that it’s not about the team we are playing, but rather how we play,” Mulrooney said. “If we just focus on the name, then we are not respecting the opponent to its fullest, and I believe we had that attitude in the fall, and it really hurt us. We need to find consistency from game to game, and that is what will be the challenge overall and not game by game.”
Richard Mulrooney leads his team in drills. The former Creighton star was named head coach of the Memphis men's soccer team in 2014.
The Tiger Mens soccer team huddles up before their match against UAB. The Tigers will play five of their seven spring matches at home before the start of the 2018 season.