With under 20 days until the regular season opener, Memphis 901 FC enters the heart of preseason camp focused on work rate on the field and in weight training.
After a strong showing in a friendly against Christian Brothers University, the Beale St. Boys set eyes on another Shelby County friendly against the Memphis Tigers on Saturday, February 25 at Billy J. Murphy Athletic Complex. Kickoff for the match is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. and is open for the public to attend.
After two and a half weeks together, Head Coach Stephen Glass says the training sessions have only gotten more productive with returning players leading from the front and trial players meshing well and performing up to that standard everyday.
“It was great to see the new boys gel into the group really well, which is important this time of year,” Glass said. “I think as well as the new guys, there are a ton of players that are showing as well as they did last year, which is brilliant. They’re taking real ownership of the group and showing a willingness to drive us on, which is beneficial for the group to have that stability.”
With the 34-match regular season on the horizon, the first-year head coach said the ramp up is all-important for the way he’d like the club to play.
“The preseason, you need to get the workload in the players, then you start the fine tuning,” he said. “The first and most important part is that they’re fit enough and strong enough to handle how you want to play and then you start really fine tuning things. We’re in the stage of really continuing to work”
Establishing In-State Rivalries
U.S. Soccer announced second round matchups for the 108th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup last week, with Memphis 901 FC drawing a road match against newcomers One Knoxville SC of USL League One in the second round.
While prize money and bragging rights are plenty of incentive for the club, returning players will be seeking redemption from last year’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of another in-state club, Chattanooga FC.
“I think the Open Cup lends itself to that. We’ve got a game that we know is going to be an event with an in-state rival,” Glass said. “They’ll see it as a big occasion, so it’s important that we rise to that occasion. I think the team got stung last year, so I know when that happens there’s a determination not to let it happen again. It’s vital that we manage that when that time comes.”
The players on the field will look forward to the Open Cup fixture, but the boss maintains the club’s biggest focus is on the March 11 regular season opener against Loudoun United. Single match tickets are available now on the club’s website.
Remaining Preseason Schedule
Feb. 25 – Memphis Tigers – Billy J. Murphy Athletic Complex @ 9:45 a.m. (Open to Public)
Feb. 25 – St. Louis SC 2
March 4 – Birmingham Legion FC