“Go!” yells coach Michael Madigan.
The Wartburg men’s soccer team takes off down the pitch for their first 120. A 120 is a fitness test designed to test a player’s endurance. The player(s) run 120 yards (the length of a soccer field) and then have to jog back to the start line in under a minute…12 times. That is off season expectation, by preseason, the expectation is 18.
The structure and expectation of the team has changed under the supervision of their new coach, Michael Madigan, a former assistant coach at Macalester, who is in his first year as a head coach.
“Fitness has definitely been a big aspect of off season this year,” captain Jay Tegge said.
One defining characteristic of Madigan’s coaching philosophy is fitness. The 120-fitness test was implemented into the training regimen upon his arrival.
Tegge supports the fitness test as he has high expectations for his team.
“He wants us to be extremely fit for preseason so we don’t have to waste time on fitness and we can get right into playing when we come in August.”
Although the team is going through a transitional period, Madigan said there are talented players on the team and success will come.
“Where I can train the players in such a way that I can trust them to make decisions on what’s appropriate for the situation, and to have the tools to then respond appropriately,” Madigan said.
Rick Willis, Wartburg’s athletic director, said through their research they found Madigan played a significant role in Macalester’s success as an assistant coach.
He went on to acknowledge another reason for selecting him.
“His experience and success in recruiting in this region, Minnesota, Iowa, a lot of these places we get our players from.”
Development of younger athletes as well as upperclassman is vital in understanding Madigan’s approach to not only coaching but fostering a group of upstanding gentlemen who will be able to pass on the traditions and work ethics to incoming underclassman.
A big goal of the coaching staff is doing a good job of recruiting a group of guys that have the talent and character necessary to play at this level, Madigan said.
“The game at a collegiate level can especially be a way to teach and bring out personal development in a lot of different ways,” he said.
Madigan doesn’t let the goal of national or conference championship escape his season’s goals but understands he must be realistic and first focus on the day to day things to achieve these goals.
“We need to be relevant in that conversation, the talent and experience are here for us to be very relevant at the top of the conference,” Madigan said. “At the same time if we really take care of business day after day we could be in the conversation for the national tournament at the end of the year.”