The Real Monarchs have begun its third week of preseason training with the hunger to compete against outside competition abundant. With the team’s focus on its March 24 opener against Tulsa Roughnecks FC, every training session and everything the team partakes in is focused on winning. Various objectives have been set forth by head coach Mark Briggs and his staff throughout the preseason, each with a purpose and a place that translates to a winning mentality as the team looks to defend its regular-season title from a year ago.
“Everything we are doing right now is solely focused on our opening day contest in Tulsa,” Briggs iterated. “Winning is a mentality that we imprint throughout our team and our staff. Every day we carry the mindset to win in anything we do.”
Focus on Defense
Focus on the defensive side of the ball has been the main focus for Briggs throughout the first weeks of preseason. Identifying objectives to be mastered in the defensive half and assigning responsibility to players in various positions on the field has allowed for accountability and organization when putting pressure on the ball. According to Briggs, performance on the defensive side of the ball is largely mental with a player always having to be focused on the task at hand.
“The focus today was ‘how do we react when our pressure has been beaten’,” Briggs explained after Tuesday's training. “The boys were switched on and tuned into today’s training and we were able to get a lot out of it.”
With the club’s season opener a month away, the team already has its crosshairs set on the game at Tulsa Roughnecks FC and although the Monarchs haven’t left the friendly confines of the Zions Bank Training Center in Herriman, excitement to face another opponent is abundant. A match against the RSL Academy in a mid-week scrimmage eight days ago – a match that ended 4-0 in favor of the Monarchs – has left the team salivating at the chance to again face outside competition.
“Everyone is still so excited to be training in this facility,” Briggs said. “But right now, I think the consensus is that everyone’s itching for a game. They’re professional footballers and they have to prepare for opening day and that is what their focus is on.”
Filling the Gaps
Due to small nagging injuries to several players on the team, Briggs has utilized multiple RSL Academy players throughout the preseason to help keep the appropriate number of players in training and to keep competition stiff. Lyes Mezine and Alexis Canales have spent the entirety of preseason with the Monarchs thus far, gaining experience and knowledge to return to the Academy sides and diffuse amongst their teams.
The Monarchs were without several players to begin its third week of preseason due to minor injuries, Briggs explained after training. Players missing from training were: Karsten Hanlin, Masta Kacher, James Moberg and David Diosa. All four players are nursing minor injuries and are expected to return to full training ahead of the club’s preseason trip to Davis, California on March 1.