With the first preseason match on the horizon for FC Tulsa, the squad is itching to get into action and face off against Oklahoma Wesleyan University. Games like these are perfect opportunities for the team to continue building chemistry and fitness in a competitive setting and it is also a chance to start the season on a strong foot with a win.
“It always matters [to win] because we want a winning culture and the expectation is for us to get 45 minutes into every player tomorrow,” head coach, Mike Nsien, said. “We will split between two teams at halftime and we will make sure everyone is healthy and see how much time we can get into each player at a good intensity and everyone comes out of it healthy if possible.”
But the team isn’t taking this game lightly, Nsien knows that Oklahoma Wesleyan University is a strong collegiate side that can lineup a bit differently than those at the NCAA level.
“They have former professional players so a lot of their guys are 23, 24, 25 years old being in the NAIA level. Every time we have played them is has been pretty competitive, they are men, it’s not like playing college boys. We expect them to come out and try to compete and there’s always pride from college players when playing against professionals.”
With plenty of new faces in the squad, the team is still learning how to work together and build off of each other’s strengths. Rodrigo da Costa returned to the club just this week and has been working alongside plenty of new and familiar faces as they prepare for this first test.
“Tomorrow is the first game, the first time we are playing together. I don’t know some players yet, how they play. We need to learn a lot between us, but it's going to be nice to see the first impression of the team and our level physically, to see if we can play 60, 70 minutes, like how far we can go,” said forward, Rodrigo da Costa. “And from there, we’re going to see how we can address everything. I’m sure the team is going to improve a lot from the first preseason game to the last one so we can start the competition really strong.”
New defender Maicon joined the squad this week from Brazil and his new teammates are helping him settle into life with FC Tulsa.
“I like being here a lot, they are all very kind, my teammates. They all help me with things, because I don't speak English, and for me, it is very difficult. With everyone, it is going very well, we are training well, and for this season it is important,” said Maicon. “It is important to meet my teammates so that we prepare as quickly as possible for the main games in the season.”