Mike Madigan has begun his tenure as head coach of the Wartburg men’s soccer team, and is focused on improving both the team’s defense and its culture.
“The biggest piece is making sure that our culture, from what we’re doing every day, is right, whether that’s in the classroom, whether that’s habits on the field, whether that’s habits around campus or in the community,” said Madigan.
This is a primary focus for Madigan, who has been impressed by how the program has functioned in the past years, noting primarily their academic achievements.
“We consistently have one of the top GPAs in the country for men’s soccer,” Madigan said. “There’s not a ceiling on how far you can go, whether that’s on the athletic side or on the academic side.”
While Madigan is focused on insuring the culture of the team remains positive, his goals for the team on the field are equally as focused.
Ayo Adebayo, last year’s tied top goal scorer, said that the team is focused on insuring their defense remains strong throughout the game. Last year, 18 of the 25 goals the Knights conceded came in the second half of games, which Adebayo said is an area they need to fix.
“His main focuses [are] defense, efficiency, and also his pressing style,” Adebayo said. “Madigan has definitely put in his style he wants us to play and we’ve been starting to learn it, the pressing style of the game, so I think that’s something we’re going to keep working on.”
Madigan said he was concerned about the defensive efforts in the second half of games, but said he is fixing this by ensuring that this year’s team is better conditioned.
“I do think we’ve needed to make some changes or improvements on the conditioning side, which we have,” he said. “That’s part of my role … keep what’s right, change what’s needed. I think we’ve made some change on the strength and conditioning.”
Adebayo showed confidence in Madigan’s plans, he said the renewed conditioning and strength in defense would allow him and his attacking group to focus on scoring more.
“A lot of our guys came in fit this year! We had our fitness test and more than half the guys passed so that’s a great starting range for us,” he said. “We might to work on finishing our chances, and if we do that we’re going to be good. We’re solid at the back, so if we finish our chances we’re going to win games this year.”