Men's Soccer Reflects on Successful Spring Season
Head Coach Hylton Dayes

April 24, 2013

CINCINNATI – The University of Cincinnati men’s soccer team wrapped up its spring season last week with its annual alumni weekend. Head coach Hylton Dayes sat down to reflect on the success of the spring season and the team’s preparation heading into the fall.

Over the course of the season, the team competed in five games and also participated in the alumni game on April 14. Dayes discussed his goals for the season, the team’s progress throughout the spring and how it will translate into the fall.

What were your goals heading into the spring season?

Hylton Dayes: “Our goals this spring were to continue the development, individually and as a team, from this fall. We did graduate seven seniors and a lot of our young players needed to play a lot this spring. We focused on the fitness, physical strength and conditioning piece because we felt that was an area we needed to show improvement in. We did a lot of core work in the weight room and fitness stuff in the bubble to get our guys up to the level necessary. We also wanted to establish a great work ethic within the team and also establish capable leaders. Our two captains, Michael Millay (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) and Taylor Hafling (Louisville, Ky./Male), have done a great job in the locker room and on the field to set the right tone. They are obviously the guys who we expect to be our leaders as we move into the fall. Those are just some of the goals we had this spring. Obviously we wanted to have success against good competition so we could have a true sense of where we were as a team heading into the fall.”

How did the team show improvement through the spring season?

HD: “I think we saw a lot of good things from the guys, but unfortunately much of the improvement was not reflected in the record. But the results were secondary to our individual and team development, including our style of play and evaluating our players against top-level competition.”



Who stood out to you during the spring season?

HD: “A number of players really stood out this spring. Ben Keane (Mount Laurel, N.J./Bishop Eustace Prep) had a very good spring. He played sparingly in the fall but his play developed in the spring and he was much more confident. This shows that he has the capabilities to challenge for playing time this fall. Alex Gill (Beavercreek, Ohio/Beavercreek), who was our backup goalkeeper in the fall, performed well in both games he played in. John Manga (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay) played in every spring game and scored a couple of goals, which should help his confidence heading into the fall. In addition, Will Diebold (Coppell, Texas/Jesuit College Prep), who missed half of the fall season because of a knee injury, was able to play this spring and I definitely think he is back to where he was before the injury.”

What does the team have to focus on heading into the summer?

HD: “There are three areas we have asked the guys to focus on over the summer. First and foremost is the strength and conditioning piece. We have seen each player make tremendous strides from January through April and this needs to continue trending upwards. Secondly, they all need to play at a high level over the summer. This allows them to stay sharp and improve in specific areas in their game. Finally, to make sure they come back to preseason refreshed, reinvigorated and ready to have a great season.”

How will the preparation translate into the fall?

HD: “That is the big question. We are hoping that it all translates into fitter, sharper and more committed players. Every player has a responsibility to put themselves in the best position to compete for playing time this fall. We are going to have a deep and talented team and it will be very competitive for playing time. Every returning player understands that just because you played in the spring doesn’t mean you will play in the fall – the best players will play. We have a large incoming class and many will push for playing time. I think the competition that we will have for positions will only help us get better.“

The Bearcats leave campus for the summer before reporting back to campus for preseason training in August. The coaching staff is looking forward to seeing the success of the spring season play out on the field in the fall.