The Bob Jones University Bruins men’s spring soccer season is currently underway as the Bruins begin defending their NCCAA national championship title.

Every year the Bruins soccer teams have a shortened spring season that allows them to be able to see where the team is as they head into the summer and ultimately the start of the fall season.

“The goals are to get our team to gel and to prepare for the fall season,” men’s soccer coach Jesse McCormick said.

Bruins goalkeeper Andrew Kester said the shortened spring season has its benefits.

“It gives us a good opportunity to see how we are improving and what areas we need to focus on more,” Kester said.

Midfielder Marvell Lareche said he personally benefits from the spring season.

“We focus a lot on building up off of our fall season,” Lareche said. “The training definitely helps me stay focused, get better and really helps bonding within the team.”

Kester said training for the spring season included weight training, fitness, more technical practices and futsal, which is a form of indoor football.

“I’m very happy with the intensity of training,” McCormick said. “It’s a healthy, competitive team.”

“This spring I have been trying to increase my strength and also my reaction speed,” Kester said.

One other focus of the spring season will be helping the freshmen, sophomores and juniors get more playing experience before the team heads into the regular fall season.

In addition to the spring season being shorter, the games themselves are also shortened to 60 minutes instead of the regular 90 minutes in a normal soccer match.

Coach McCormick said the games are more like scrimmages, and they are not official games.

Each game will be played like a regular game, but it will be more like scrimmages in the fact that they are not official games.

The freshmen, sophomores and juniors also get the most playing time during the spring season since senior athletes will be graduating.

The Bruins first game of the spring season came against the USC Upstate Spartans which the Bruins lost 6-1.

The Bruins have five more games this spring season, three of which were played Saturday.

The Bruins played Emmanuel College, Erskine College and North Greenville University for their three matches.

For the Bruins’ final two matches of the spring season, they will play Southern Wesleyan University and Columbia International University tomorrow. All of the spring season games will be played here at Alumni Stadium.

Coach McCormick said  one of the goals he has set for the fall season that the team can start working toward in the spring season is to win one of their three toughest games of the season.

Those three tough opponents will be Bryan College, Georgia Gwinnett College and Wingate University.

“We want to put ourselves in a position to win tough games,” McCormick said.

Wingate University will prove to be one of the toughest games for the Bruins, since Wingate won the NCAA Division II national championship last season against University of Charleston (West Virginia).

McCormick said the team can use the spring season to maintain a positive outlook by communicating and building positive momentum.

“When we’re all on the same page, we look really good and dangerous. That is going to be beneficial for us in the fall,” Lareche said.

“This next year, I’m looking forward to playing with the guys on our team both returners and new players as we defend our championship,” Kester said.