On the run up to this years Sports Awards we will be interviewing one team every week to see how their season went. In the fifth of our interviews, we ask Team Solent FC goalie Matt Phillips to answer our questions.
Tell us how this season went for your team and did it reach your expectations?
Starting with the Wessex side, coming into the season off two near misses for the Wessex first team, I think everyone was under the same vision that we wanted to be pushing once again and better the previous two seasons. As the season started, this was still very much the case and we gave a good showing for ourselves. As the season has progressed, injuries, unavailability and another few issues have seen us go off the boil a little and seen us fade away from any promotion chances. That said, if we achieve a top 4 finish, it is still a very respectable position when all things are put into perspective and a lot to build on for next season.
The reserves have had a very different season to last, with semi finals in both Wyvern cup competitions and pushing for second place in the league which will give us promotion. All the players would agree, with a little more luck we could have won the league this year completely, but promotion is definitely something to be proud of with still the potential of a cup final!
The BUCS league started off pretty poorly, with defeats to Plymouth, both Bournemouth sides and a first round cup exit. The season took a bit of a u-turn when Karl Sharman took over, with us going unbeaten under him, winning two and drawing two. and we finished on a high securing third place.
How have the Freshers settled in? Did you have many new joiners?
Very well, both playing wise and socially! We had a lot of third years leave last year so needed to replace a good bulk of the squad and we did that very well. Having experienced head’s around such as Mark Jordan and Sean Bartlett has just helped make sure the first years came out their shell a bit and were OK.
Where did the team compete this year?
At Test Park – The Home of Football.
Who can join the team?
We hold a trial for students at the beginning of every year, not just for freshers but everyone. Usually we get around 300 – 350 people attend, so it’s a bit of a manic day! We also allow non-students to play in our Saturday team, but they usually come from knowing someone already at the club or have played at a higher level as opposed to a trial period.
How have the teams social’s gone this year?
Good! In typical football style we’ve always love a good social, three years to date I’m yet to miss an Oceana Wednesday!
What is a typical training session for Team Solent men?
Hard to comment as a keeper, as mine is different to the rest, but half hours technical feet work, followed by around half an hours worth of shooting drills, half an hours worth of set play stuff then finish off with a small sided game.
What were the team’s toughest challenges to overcome this season?
Easter and winter breaks! 71 players we have signed on, last week we played Amesbury with 12 players of which 4 are center half’s and 2 goalkeepers! It is a bit difficult at times, but it will always be an issue when you are a student based side.
Are you looking forward to the Sports Awards and why?
Yes! Always a great night to celebrate the success through all the Solent sides, and another good excuse for a couple of drinks to be had! This year being my final year as well, it should be a good night.
What are the plans in moving the team forward next academic year?
Build on this season. We have to look at this season as another stepping stone towards promotion, we will not lose many players going into next year and hopefully we will stay reasonably injury free which should mean a successful season!
Thanks to Southampton Solent University, student photographer, James Chance who took the great photos above of the team throughout the season.