The Tennessee Lady Volunteer soccer team reached out to their community and welcomed the FC Alliance U10 and U11 girls teams to Regal Stadium recently. The youth soccer teams attended the Lady Vols’ practice, taking in the sights and sounds of the sport at the collegiate level. Head coach Brian Pensky commented on the continued importance of reaching out to the community.
“It is another win-win situation,” said Pensky. “It is a lucky thing to be a role model and for our players here at Tennessee it is very exciting to have these young ladies gawking over our players.”
Rising junior forward, Caroline Brown, also noted the opportunity these events give the squad.
“I think these are fun opportunities for us to reach out into the community and to our fans that come to our games to build a more personal relationship with them. Hopefully they enjoy these days as much as we do.”
Throughout the team’s hour and a half long practice, members of F.C. Alliance had the opportunity to see what a division I program looked like in action and with these types of events, the Lady Vols hope to educate the next generation of players.
Head coach Brian Pensky noted that it is important to have visiting groups witness his team practice with a highly competitive intensity.
“For the young kids watching our training, which is very competitive, part of their education is learning to become a competitive athlete,” said Pensky. “It is ok to compete, it is ok to kick and scratch and claw, and part of that was the idea in playing today. Making practice competitive allowed these nine and ten year old girls to see the eighteen to twenty-two year old women competing so hard against each other, but once it was over, see that they are great friends and teammates, and that they are all in this together.”
Caroline Brown also commented on the competitive nature of practice.
“We played some small sided games going to goal. They were very intense, very competitive games and I think that was very entertaining for (the girls) to see a lot of goals being scored.”
Following team drills and scrimmages, the Lady Vols took the time to meet with the participating members of F.C. Alliance and their families. After signing autographs and connecting with their fans, Tennessee players escorted the group around Regal Stadium for a VIP tour.
“It is always fun and very inspiring to be able to come to a private practice and see people you look up to as a little kid,” said Brown. “I know it means a lot to them and it makes their day so if we can continue to do that, then we are willing to do (these events) every day.”
Brown also sees the benefit between the combination of a squad that enjoys community outreach and a coach who sees the importance of educating the next generation of players.
“I have seen a lot of that in him,” Brown said. “(Coach Pensky) likes to give back to the community and we as a team enjoy it as well, so it is a very good fit.”
Fans still wishing to see the Lady Vols this spring are encouraged to attend the annual Tennessee Collegiate Classic this Saturday, April 14, as eleven of the state’s intercollegiate squads face off at Regal Stadium.