Fall coaches prepare for season’s uncertainty

Coaches Poolman, Keefe, and Ator in the October 25 contest vs. SCHA- Obaida Elamin ’20

Fall athletes going into the summer break all have the same question: what will the fall sports season look like? During this time of uncertainty, coaches and directors are working hard to ensure our cross-country, football, golf, soccer, and water polo teams can safely play a season. 

     “We are certainly planning as if we will have a fall season,” Athletic Director Mr. Michael Murphy said. “We’ve got a full fall schedule done for each of our teams, and we’re planning to go to camp opening up August 24, as we do for most teams, with football opening a week earlier on the 17th of August.”

     Although the ideal scenario is to safely open training camps in late August, there are backup plans available if necessary.

     Mr. Murphy said, “If we wind up with limited time, we would eliminate the non-league games and focus on making sure we get to have league competition against each other.”

     When the time comes, the athletic department will open workouts and practices gradually and with caution. 

     “It will start with small-group type things,” said Mr. Murphy. “Our guys will have to get cleared via temperature, and follow a whole list of protocols like handwashing stations, how many can be working together within a certain number of feet, and the field will be split into zones where only some people can cross into, so it will certainly look and feel different.”

Coach Brian Martin occupies the high ground, EA Day 2018 – Communications

     This summer, training programs will be exceedingly important for athletes because they will not be able to partake in scrimmages or play for club teams as they normally would. Each coaching staff is planning a unique way to train and prepare their athletes for the season, while keeping everyone safe.

     “Coach Poolman, Coach Ator, and I came up with an offseason conditioning program that we’re going to have our kids doing,” varsity soccer coach Mr. Daniel Keefe said. “They are going to be doing at home workouts with Coach Rosko, which I think is a good way to stay in shape. We are also going to be doing running circuits where we set up teams of guys who will be competing virtually every week to see how many miles they are logging.”

     Not only will the soccer players have conditioning programs for the summer, but they will also be expected to improve their skills.

     “We’ve come up with a series of touch drills where they’re going to have the opportunity to record themselves and see how they’re doing compared to other players,” Coach Keefe said.

     Another facet of preparation that needs to be addressed this summer is game plan and strategy.

     “We were a young team last year, so a lot of kids know what our system is. It’s helpful to have returning varsity players who know what to expect,” Coach Keefe said. “We’re going to try and keep it the same with some slight modifications.”

     Sports including soccer, football, and water polo involve strategy, which makes it more difficult for coaches to prepare their athletes virtually. But sports including cross-country and golf require little change in terms of off-season training. 

     “Cross-country is luckier than most fall sports. There’s no ball, there are no drills, and you don’t really need a field,”  assistant cross country coach Mr. Timothy Lengel said. “We just need the guys to get out and run. We are actually pretty good here!”

“I’m preparing as if we’re going to have a normal season.”

Dan Curran ’21

     With many golf courses recently opening up, most of the summer training and practice for golfers will go unchanged compared to previous ones. 

     “As of right now it’s a go, so until I hear otherwise, I’m preparing as if we’re going to have a normal season,” said Fifth Form golfer Dan Curran.

     Coach Keefe said, “This really will be a season where champions are made when no one is looking. When we get the green light to play, which I’m hopeful will be at the end of August, if you didn’t put the work in, you’re going to be in trouble.”

     Although there is still uncertainty regarding when and if the fall season will begin, Mr. Murphy assures all fall athletes one thing: “We’re going to do everything that we can do at Haverford to give players the opportunity to compete in the fall.”

Author: Ryan Rodack '22

Ryan serves as an Editor-in-Chief for and is in his fourth year working for The Index. He previously served as the arts section editor and a managing editor. In the spring of 2021, Ryan earned recognition from the Scholastic Writing Awards for for his piece features piece, “Mr. Andrén pursues his dream job.” Ryan most frequently covers the sports, features, and news sections in his writing.