Last weekend marked the end of Chattanooga Red Wolves SC's fourth week of preseason. With more than 30 training sessions, three exhibition matches and 12+ hours in the gym, the team has been working tirelessly in preparation for it's March 30 season opener on the road against North Texas SC, a League One club operated by MLS side FC Dallas.
Chattanooga Red Wolves SC Forward Conor Doyle recently shared his thoughts on how the preseason has progressed through the team's first four weeks.How has preseason been going so far? What’s been good, challenging, rewarding?
"Preseason has been going really well. The best part to witness so far has been the progress we made as a team from the first preseason game to the second. The challenging part for me personally has been getting my sharpness back. The biggest challenge for the team, I think, has been getting used to playing with each other and learning each other's tendencies. That being said, it's been rewarding to see those things developing as the weeks have passed."Is clear progress being made?
"Clear progress has definitely been made through the first few weeks. Mainly in terms of the team chemistry on the field and the collective fitness of the squad."What were the key differences in the first preseason match vs. Birmingham Legion FC and the ATL2 match?
"There were quite a few key differences between the first two preseason matches. Against Birmingham Legion FC, we were still in the process of learning our roles and how each other played. It was the first match in months for the majority of us, so the collective game fitness wasn’t quite there. Against ATL2, we felt as if we could see the work that we had put in for those 10 days following the Birmingham match. We were sharper, fitter, tactically better and more dangerous going forward."What are the most critical pieces the team is working on mastering ahead of the season?
"We have continued to work on our team defensive shape, how we want to play once we win the ball back and our overall fitness."How is team chemistry—both on and off the field?
"Team chemistry is growing stronger as the weeks go on both on and off the field. We have a great group of hardworking guys and share similar mindsets and goals."Describe what a typical week of preseason looks like.
"A typical week in preseason usually starts with two sessions on Tuesday—one on the field and one in the gym. Wednesdays are typically one session on the field in the morning with the afternoon off. Thursday is another two sessions—one in the morning on the field and on in the afternoon. With Saturdays recently being game day, Friday is typically a light session preparing for the match. Sundays are a pool recovery session at the Y, and Mondays are off. We are constantly going, but it's also a balance making sure we stay rested and healthy as we approach regular season."What are your thoughts on Hank’s coaching style? Has he shared a clear vision of what he expects out of this season?
"I have been enjoying Hank’s coaching style a lot. His vision of what he expects out of this season, along with all of us as players, is to win the Inaugural League 1 Championship, and that's something that has been clear from the very start."Impression of the CRW roster—talent caliber, strengths, style?
"I am very impressed with the squad that has been put together. Seeing the caliber of players, talent and the collective resumes substantially factored into me really wanting to sign here."We’re four weeks in with four to go—what are the guys focusing on to prep for the team’s League One debut?
"We are continuing to really focus on our style of play and fine tuning all the details Coach has given us throughout the first four weeks. Getting our game fitness up and pushing our minutes more and more with the matches we have left in preseason is another big focus. We need to be in game shape by the time we kickoff regular season.
Another important thing we have started to focus on is picking up wins in the preseason games that remain. We want to get in the habit of winning matches going into the start of the regular season."What are your expectations for the season?
"My expectation for the season is for us to win a championship—that's what we all want."
The Red Wolves are set to host back-to-back USL Cup Champions Louisville City FC in an open preseason match on Saturday, March 16 at David Stanton Field. Kickoff is set for 10:45 a.m. Gates open on 9:45 a.m. For tickets, visit chattredwolves.com/tickets.