Amid a host of new faces joining the Silverbacks during the offseason, the club still returns 10 players from last year’s team.
For the group of players returning to the field in Atlanta, the team’s inaugural season in the NASL was a disappointment, but they’re anxious to erase 2011 and move forward in 2012.
“Obviously, in the first year, we had a tough season,” said defender Willie Hunt. “That being said, the experience helped me a lot and now I feel as prepared and focused as I ever have been.”
Unlike last season, the Silverbacks will have the benefit of going through a full preseason as a team, with a core group of players already having experienced a full season playing together. The familiarity with many of the other team members is something midfielder Lucas Paulini is very much looking forward to.
“We’ve been training and playing together for a long time now,” Paulini said. “Last year, it took us awhile to get used to each other, but this time around we’ll all be on the same page well before the season starts.”
Preseason training camp, now less than a month away, means the 2012 NASL season is quickly approaching, and for Hunt, Paulini, and the rest of those returning for another season in Silverbacks red, they can’t wait to get back onto the field.
“We’ve grown from our experiences last season and we’re ready to compete for a championship,” Paulini said. “We have a great mix of young talent and experienced leaders, and I really am just ready to go out there and win some games for our fans.”
“Every athlete is competitive, and for me, I’m just looking forward to proving to everybody that we’re a good team,” Hunt said. “I’m looking forward to earning some results, hopefully making the playoffs, and then just seeing what happens from there.”