Volt Family Story: UMC Soccer
How Volt helped Women's Soccer Coach Joe Alianiello build his program with a foundation in long term athletic development.
University of Minnesota - Crookston
If anyone knows how to take a women’s soccer program and turn it around, it’s Coach Joe Alianiello. When he first began coaching women’s soccer at the University of Minnesota Crookston in August 2012, he had 11 student-athletes on his roster. “We wanted to build a program the right way,” says Coach Alianiello. And they did. By bringing in a young but talented recruiting class, the Golden Eagles were ready to create a solid foundation for their program.
Coach Alianiello’s young team needed to be physically ready for the season, and that meant emphasizing performance goals and training. “When I first got to the University, strength and conditioning training was pretty much non-existent for my soccer players,” Coach Alianiello says. The strength and conditioning program at the time consisted of one spreadsheet compiled by the coaches, but that wasn’t enough. Alianiello recognized the need for an extensive and sports-specific strength and conditioning program, but he had negative experiences with strength coaches in the past. “The problem we had with only having one strength coach for 400 athletes is he took a football training program and watered it down for soccer,” says Alianiello. In his second year at University of Minnesota Crookston, Coach Alianiello had 24 athletes on his roster and advocated incorporating Volt Athletics to his training program. The following year, Alianiello and his athletes joined the Volt Family.
[Before Volt], my girls didn’t take lifting seriously. We like that Volt doesn’t make my girls bulky for soccer, but rather more fit.
Now, just shy of a year since adopting Volt, Coach Alianiello sees performance goals being met by his athletes. “[Before Volt], my girls didn’t take lifting seriously, but after joining Volt, a lot of them wanted to lift two times a week during off season,” says Coach Alianiello. He also notices that his athletes have become stronger—the evidence is on the field. Along with the strength gains in the weight room, the Volt program has also helped in preventing overuse injuries. Volt Athletics provides the training platform for these athletes, but coaches like Alianiello practice what they preach. “I’m suffering with them because I’m doing squats with them,” Coach Alianiello jokes.
Coach Alianiello’s players enjoy using the Volt training platform because the program allows them to log in on their personal devices, so they can keep tabs on their progress. “We like that Volt doesn’t make my girls bulky for soccer, but rather more fit,” he says.
Although Alianiello does not typically recruit single prospective athletes from high schools, he has a few pointers for them. He recognizes that these upcoming athletes are competing against those who have had two to four years of collegiate experience under their belts, so he recommends that they train extensively to get accustomed to the physicality of the sport. "When we recruit, we look for multi-sport athletes. Far too often, incoming freshman are not physically prepared to immediately contribute. If they do want to contribute, they need to get into a quality strength and conditioning program before they step on a college campus," says Coach Alianiello. He now creates Volt accounts for incoming freshmen to help them physically prepare before they step foot on campus.
From the time he first started coaching at the University of Minnesota Crookston, to what the program has become today, Alianiello sees notable transformations in how his athletes view strength and conditioning. The Volt Athletics platform is one component in reshaping their training, but the driving factor in the Golden Eagles’ success is a coach who pushes his athletes to reach their goals and go beyond what they thought possible.