Delays, restrictions, cancellations – these are familiar words to those living in 2020. First-year UMKC men’s head soccer coach Ryan Pore is no exception.
Due to the coronavirus, the Summit League recently rolled out its official plans to move the men’s soccer season from fall to spring.
“Obviously we are disappointed because the ultimate goal is to play games and compete,” Pore, a former Kansas City Wizards player, said. “But at the end of the day we want what’s best for the health and safety of our student-athletes.”
Global pandemics are not the types of challenges a first-year head coach expects to run into. However, with a completely new coaching staff and 12 new players, Pore welcomed the long off-season.
“To really build those relationships and gain the trust of our guys has been really crucial during this time period,” Pore said. “We want to be a resource for them to help them get through this time and have a resilient group once we get to those games in the spring.”
Keeping preparation fresh during this time, whether on Zoom or in-person, brings difficulties.
“There was real excitement when we got to start training on Aug. 11, but after two weeks it started to get a little stale. Because when you don’t have that ultimate prize of playing games and you don’t have a date in sight for when that might be, it gets hard,” Pore said.
Recently, the NCAA released the dates for the new men’s Division I spring soccer season. It will take place between Feb. 3 and Apr. 24 with a selection date of Apr. 25 according to the Division I Board of Directors. The slightly shortened season will end with a tournament bracket pared-down to 75% capacity.
Through all of the delays, restrictions and cancellations there are two things Pore looks forward to seeing this spring: a competitive game played out on UMKC’s new turf field and a culture of comradery within the locker room.
“Right now it’s just a bunch of coaches and empty lockers in there,” Pore said. “We still have fun, but there’s nothing better than building those relationships in the locker room with your guys and going through the goods and the bads. We are grateful to be in this scenario, but yet we’re ready for things to get back to normal, too.”