The men's and women's soccer teams at Sussex County Community College (SCCC) were put to the test in more ways than one, Saturday Aug. 3, in an effort to promote team unity.
Marine Corp. recruiters capped the first week of the two teams' training on that Saturday by leading a vigorous workout in a combined men's and women's workout session that lasted two grueling hours.
"The program gets everyone to push each other through tough times," said Head Coach Frank Vernacchio. "It's about overcoming obstacles and adapting to the situation. You're tired, sore - that's part of the game of soccer. How you change and adapt under tough circumstances around you is what makes for success. It's great to see how they push themselves to get through it. Really, if you can get through this you can get through just about anything. I don't know of any other (community college) teams doing this."
The session, which included a variety of separate workouts, from piggyback rides to wind sprints, squats, and push-ups, is designed with partners in mind in many cases.
Bailey Caller and Chloe Bellerby have now gone through the Marine program twice.
"This is so good for team building," said Caller, goaltender for the men's team. "It builds up individual toughness but it also helps when things go bad; that's when everybody picks you up."
Bellerby, center-back on the women's team, added, "It pushes you mentally. Mental toughness is important in soccer. The Marines do a great job. It's physically hard but they push us through and brings us much closer as a team."
"Each workout has a specific reason but overall it's about building cohesiveness and one family," said Jonathan Finocchiaro, the Veterans Services Coordinator at the College. "The lessons are all there."
This was the second year that the soccer teams combined for this workout. Finocchario was initially approached by the coaching staff about the program and the Coordinator contacted the regional Marine recruiting office. A national program, typically it is run at high schools. According to Staff Sgt. Brendan Gagnon, who ran the Sussex session with Staff. Sgt. Brian Zebro, wherever they do it "it is about teamwork and leadership training."
"We love it," added Assistant Coach Mike Rath. "It's really not so much about the physical; it's what brings the team together. You can't hide. Everybody needs to pull their weight so it brings the team that much closer."
The women's soccer team opens up their season at the end of August while the men kick off their campaign the first week of September. For more information about the SCCC sports programs, visitsussexskylanders.com.