GREAT FALLS – The University of Providence men’s soccer team has been hard at work as the season approaches. The Argos finished a disappointing 6-9 last year and went 5-8 in the Cascade Conference.
Providence will be led by first-year head coach Matt Ball, and the Preseason Coaches Poll has his squad finishing ninth in the conference this year out of 14 teams. But Ball thinks that can be used as an advantage.
“I think that motivates the guys a little bit more. It’s understandable. Our conference is very tough, and anybody can finish anywhere in that conference,” said Ball. “But I think most of the guys are happy being the underdog, I’m certainly happy being the underdog. If that means some teams take us a bit lighter than they should then we’re all for that, but I’m expecting a lot of good things this year.”
More than half the players on this year’s team are upperclassmen, and the first-year head coach wants his them to express themselves more this season.
“I take a lot of pride in the relationships I have with the players — making them feel as comfortable as possible so they’re willing to express themselves on the field and not feel too tied up or rigid in a system,” said Ball. “Obviously we still have a style of play that we want to adhere to, but there’s definitely some flexibility there and some freedom for guys to express themselves.”
The team will kick off the season on Sept. 1 against Mid-America Christian University in Billings.