Andrew Paul to play a key role in Tiger’s long term success

Paul takes over as associate coordinator of strength and conditioning hoping to build on the program’s fitness.
Andrew Paul, the associate director of strength and conditioning for Mizzou Soccer, poses for a portrait. Courtesy of MU Athletics

Andrew Paul had one goal in mind when he accepted the role of associate coordinator of strength and conditioning for Missouri: He wanted to learn the players’ names.

“My first goal was to learn their names,” Paul said. “I studied online, and I thought I was somewhat prepared on the first day and then I got there and they all look nothing like they do online.”

Paul was hired by Missouri this past June and placed in a position that requires him to both manage the conditioning of the soccer team and help with the conditioning of the Mizzou football team.

Paul insists that his job is more than just conditioning players in the weight room. It’s also coordinating with the other coaches and building relationships in the program.

“The weight room is a very small portion of what we do,” Paul said. “There’s a lot of administrative components to our job, and there is also a relationship aspect, whether it’s talking to players, meeting with coaches or making sure that you’re delivering the same message as the coach to the team.”

Before taking his role at Missouri, Paul lived in Florida with his wife, Melissa, who is currently coaching softball at the University of West Florida. Paul lived there for almost two years and worked as a physical therapist.

“I was in a rehab setting,” Paul said. “It was a very good setting, a very good company that I worked for but there is something about the team environment that you miss especially when it’s been in your blood for so long.”

While he enjoyed the setting he was in, Paul missed the teamwork and goals that did not exist as a physical therapist.

“I have had a lot of people tell me that coaching is in my blood and I can’t get it out,” Paul said. “That idea of starting off the season with a goal is part of what I love.”

When Paul came into the Mizzou program in June, he was taking over for Bryan Mann. Mann was the Associate Director of Strength and Conditioning for Mizzou from 2004 to 2014.

When Paul took over the job, he had less than three weeks to prepare the team before the preseason started. Despite the task, Paul was not worried.

“(Mann) is a big name in strength and conditioning and so when you take over, you don’t try to reinvent the wheel,” Paul said. “My job when I came in was to not screw them up because Coach Mann had done such a good job with them.”

The players responded well, according to Paul. He believes a large portion of the credit should go to the the team’s five seniors for the leadership that they displayed throughout the preseason.

“(The seniors) were the shoulder I leaned on when I took the team over this summer,” Paul said.

The conditioning that Paul and his staff put the players through in the preseason has proved much needed so far in the 2015 season. Mizzou has had two of their four games forced into overtime. Coincidentally, both of the overtime games have been on Sundays, when the players have had just one day of rest from their previous game.

“When you look at the schedule, you’re going to see that we need higher fitness levels than most,” Paul said. “Even professional teams have five days of rest between games, but in the college setting, they have one day, which is unheard of in the professional setting.”

To help the players with their fitness, Paul and his staff rely on superb physical conditioning in the preseason and then use a system of heart rate monitors and global positioning systems to track where players move throughout the game.

The system also relies on players putting in work on their own time to recover between games.

“Postgame, the girls have a recovery regeneration circuit that they go through, and I’ve educated them on that and how to use it all,” Paul said. “They’ve done a great job with being self-starters and getting it done on their own.”

The recovery process will be important throughout the season as the team only has three weekends where they have more than one day of rest between games. The regular season runs until Oct. 29.

Paul now has the players names in his memory. Now his only goal is to be there for his team.

“(The names) took me a while,” Paul said. “Now my main goal for the season is to keep positive energy and keep things rolling.”

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