PEMBROKE – Head coach Mike Schaeffer welcomed his UNCP men’s soccer team back to campus with a 5:30 a.m. fitness session on Monday morning as the Braves returned to Pembroke for the first day of preseason camp.
A total of 28 players, including 10 newcomers, followed a 15-minute stretch at 5:15 a.m. with the Cooper Test – a 12-minute run that is measured in completed distance. Schaeffer put his team through a spirited 2-hour practice session shortly thereafter, with the Braves scheduled to report back to the practice field adjacent to the Lumbee Hall administration building early Monday evening.
“I thought it was a very good first day for us,” Schaeffer said. “The fitness level was considerably better than it has been the past couple of years and that is very promising. Our first practice was very intense and full of competition.”
UNCP returns five starters and 13 other letterwinners from its 2008 squad that turned in a 9-9-1 clip, including wins in four of their last five outings. The Braves will open up their 2009 slate with a home exhibition contest against Belmont Abbey on Sunday at 5 p.m. and will kick off their regular season slate on August 27 when they travel to Hartsville, S.C., to battle Coker.