Exploring The Off-season: Miguel Oquendo, Warsaw Crusaders

Photo Source: Europlayers
What is "the off season"? Does it exist in football? 
Well ¨the off season¨ does exist, it is the time between the end of the season and right before any preseason games or tournaments that a team might do to get ready for the regular season.

What are the main goals coaches work towards during this time?
Main goals include increasing overall strength and power and speed. It is a time in which more focus is given to the wieght room, players intending to gain size and speed. I tend to focus in the weakest links on the team to improve them first would improve the team strength overall. 

When do you start looking for imports? What things do you consider when sifting through options? 
Imports are a question of finances and needs. Do we have the finances to fill the needs of the team? Depends on the budget of a team, every team has certain needs to fill, whether through European imports or American imports. In the end the financial ability plays a large part in whether a team is getting an import or what type of import they can afford. 

What things can an import do to increase their chances of gaining a teams interest? 
An import can fit with a almost any team if he is flexible financially, meaning he does not ask for 1000 euros for a Div 2 team. Good European players are highly saught after because they are more affordable. A ticket from England is way more cheaper than New York. Teams play a balancing act with there budgets. If your an American and you want to play you have to constantly share your resume, even if it´s just to say hello. They more a team is comfortable with you the more likely you are to be recruited. Also it is important to know where football is more popular and more likely to afford an import players. Not all teams can afford imports. 

What is the worst thing an athlete can do to hurt their chances?
An import can hurt his chances if he has a terrible attitude, ask for too much and offers little. A player must be flexible, because he will not only be asked to play, but to coach, and teach and be a leader. So he must be willing to adapt to a new country and culture and can´t insult someones culture and learn the laws of a country he is going to. Character to me is very important, a player will poor character will not help my team, he will bring nothing to the team, I believe teams should do a better job interviewing players via skpe and ask the proper questions. Leadership is a vital characteristic in selecting an import. 

What type of team building events do you do between seasons? 
Team building is very important as more players come into a team the team must continue to build on existing chemistry, go to the gym in groups, a team that works out together, stands together. It´s hard to give up on teammate when you have suffered together. Go to the movies together, eat dinner together, the more time you spend with your teammates the more trust and friendship is created, that is important when developing a championship team. 

Do you have any advice to players about how to approach their own off-season and recruiting seasons?
they are plenty of websites and videos on how to train properly. If you are a vetran, you have to ask, what where you weakness last season and how can improve them? What where my strengths and how can I improve them? Focus on what you need to improve, whether it is speed or power, or technique. Find a workout buddy, have someone who is equally dedicated as you are, you will find working out more enjoyable with someone who shares the same goals as you, and harder to give up. Watch plenty of American football, NCAA, NFL, High school, European football, just continue to absorb football, be a visual learner and continue to learn you position and craft. Imports continue to work on your skill, and don´t wait till you are recruited to get into shape. Film your workouts and put them on your profile, so that teams see you are working. If you want it, you will get it, you just have to be diligent.

Lance Kriesien
Mia Bajin