Putting it behind him

One thing is certain about the upcoming men’s soccer team’s season. It won’t be compared to last year’s season – at least not by coach George Kiefer.

Despite winning the regular-season Big East Championship and making it to the NCAA Tournament, Kiefer feels whatever happens this season will have nothing to do with last season’s results.

“I don’t think the two (seasons) have anything to do with each other,” said Kiefer, whose team lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season to Virginia. “The approach is not going to be, ‘Let’s try to do what we did the season before.’ That would be ridiculous. It’s more about focusing on this year’s team and our day-to-day habits.”

Although USF may be expected to make another NCAA Tournament appearance in its second season in the Big East, Kiefer won’t worry about that until the time comes.

“The goals we’re going to set are going to be more on the things we can control, and that’s the behavior and our effort in training,” Kiefer said. “The goals are going to be measured daily rather than (in the long term).”

Although all three of last season’s double-figure point scorers will return (Jordan Seabrook, Rodrigo Hidalgo and Simon Schoendorf), Kiefer considers USF to be a new team playing in a new season.

“This is a new team with a new life that needs to get off to a good start and work hard in training,” Kiefer said. “We’d all be making a big mistake if we tried to compare this year’s team to last year’s team. I think teams get caught up in doing that, and it could end up hurting you.”

Regardless of whether anyone else compares the two seasons, the fifth-year coach said making it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2005 wasn’t enough for him or his team.

“If anything, we feel we fell short last year,” Kiefer said. “At Virginia we were up 2-0 and let that game slip away. By no means is anyone in this group from last year’s team happy with how we did.”

With his team spread out across the world during the summer – some players are taking classes, while others are off playing on amateur teams or watching the World Cup in Germany – Kiefer is looking forward to the start of another season. And he made it clear the focus will be solely on the new season.

“Last season is over. It’s been over for almost seven (or) eight months,” Kiefer said. “It can’t do much for us in helping us prepare for FIU, our (season) opener (on Aug. 25).”