“I am excited,” TC head coach Charlie Long said. “It will be fun to play here at home at night. We hope to get the crowd out, but people have been very skeptical. They have said once you win a few games we will come out to see, but until then we will not come. That is OK, I understand, but I am hoping by our second or third game we will start getting a crowd out to support us. I think we will put a good product out.
“I think we are going to be exciting and fun to watch. I can’t guarantee wins every time we step on the field, but I think we will get a honest showing every time we show up.”
Long has the tough duty of bringing all of his players from all around the world together as a team.
The Tornadoes have players from: Brazil, Haiti, Jamaica, Chile, Peru, Germany, Croatia, Texas, Atlanta and Miami.
“We have a nucleus of returning players, but we have brought in some junior college transfers that have a little bit of experience,” Long said. “We have some international players with experience, which is helping. My challenge is to try to mold the different nationalities and different backgrounds together as a unit. We have people from all over the place, and trying to put them together with all their differences makes it entertaining. It is a fun challenge.
“I am proud of the work level that these guys have committed themselves to train to become better on the field and in the classroom.”
Junior Mario Clermont said this preseason has been tough than his previous two at TC.
“We’ve had a tough preseason,” Clermont said. “We have been working really hard and practicing up to four times a day sometimes. It shows in our preseason games, we got three wins against good opponents.”
The Tornadoes recorded a dismal record of 4-28-2 in their last two seasons.
Clermont said he tries not to dwell on the past too much.
“I try not to think about it, but of course you think about it,” the junior defender said. “Like they say, you got to lose to know how to win. I have been there, so now I know how to win and what not to do.”
Columbia native Esteban Pastrana believes living under the same roof as his teammates will produce positive results on and off the soccer field.
“This is my first time living with all soccer players,” Pastrana said. “I think that is having a very good effect on the team. It shows that we can be together; we respect our stuff. I can leave my wallet there and know that no body is going to touch it from the team. That gives us confidence outside and on the field.”
The junior middle fielder said that the team has a sense of urgency about winning now.
“Our goal is to have a winning record and see if we can put Talladega College on the map,” Long said. “We have to change the attitude and let them know that Talladega College soccer is here to stay.”
Long has his team giving back to the youth in the community.
“Our kids have been doing clinics with the youth,” Long said. “We did a clinic here in town, and we have done some work in Anniston. We are going to go back to Anniston to do a clinic and we are going to do a youth clinic here in town. We are trying to get these college guys to give back to the community, to the younger kids and to soccer.
“I think it will pay off down the road.”