Aug 13, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. --The Tennessee soccer team did some light running and stretching exercises on Tuesday, the sixth day of preseason practice.
The players have done a good job of grinding through the first week of practice. Tuesday's light morning session was a way to keep legs fresh while still getting a good workout in.
"Preseason is a grind," head coach Brian Pensky said. "It's a delicate balance between how much you've got to push through things and grind it out and taking a step back to ease back a little bit. You never want to put your players at a risk of injury. After yesterday morning and then a little bit last night, some kids are starting to feel tight and a little bit sore. There's no better signal than that to ease back a little bit."
Part of that "easing back" the team will do on Tuesday includes a whitewater rafting trip near the Smoky Mountains. Last August, the team kayaked in Concord Cove to take a break from training camp.
"It becomes refreshing being in the water," Pensky said. "It becomes mentally non-stressful and then you get to see your teammates in a different light and a difference experience. Coming off of yesterday, today's white water rafting comes at the perfect time"
THESTRUP SET TO TAKE ON THE WORLD
Freshman Amalie Thestrup heads to Wales on Wednesday to rejoin her Denmark U-19 team as it prepares for the 2013 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship final tournament. The tournament runs Aug. 19-31.
Thestrup will miss the first few games of Tennessee's season while playing overseas. Pensky had praise for Thestrup's showing in these first days of practice and thinks that her time adjusting to Tennessee recent weeks will ease her transition back into the fold when she returns to Knoxville.
"Certainly we're going to miss her the next couple of weeks," Pensky said. "But we couldn't be more happy and more proud of her to get to represent her country. It's a pretty big time for Denmark U19 women's football."
Thestrup, who has been playing for Danish national teams for years, says there's no greater feeling than playing for one's home nation.
"It's huge representing your own country," Thestrup said. "It's a dream come true and I think it's something that most players dream of. There's nothing over your national team. It's the biggest thing."
The Danish U-19 team plays with an attacking style that suits Thestrup's talents very nicely. Over six games in the qualifying rounds, she scored five goals to tie for ninth among all international players in the qualifying rounds. Thestrup points to the familiarity she and her Danish teammates have with each other on the field as a big reason for her success.
"We've been the same group of girls for many years now, so we've learned how each of us plays," she said. "The whole team, we're just working together and that's what gave us our success. Whenever you hear the national anthems, you always get this extra kick and it's just a great, great feeling."