Central Florida got a goal from Omar Vallejo in the 40th minute and a clean sheet from Sebastian Evers to post a 1-0 win over Kentucky men's soccer, on a cold and rainy Wednesday night at the UK Soccer Complex.
Kentucky senior midfielder Matt Lodge connected on a free-kick goal in the 38th minute and goalkeeper Jack Van Arsdale saved a staggering six shots, leading the Wildcats to a thrilling 1-0 win over No. 22 Louisville on Friday night in front of 5,583 fans, the second-largest crowd in Cardinal Park history.
In his first 11 months on the job, Kentucky men's soccer head coach Johan Cedergren - who enters his second season in 2013 - directed the Wildcats to their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2003 and its best team GPA in the history of the program.
Cedergren took over the Kentucky program in December of 2011 as the third head coach in the history of the program. His 2012 season saw the Wildcats post one of their best seasons in school annals, as UK hosted the first round of the NCAA Tournament after ending the regular season sporting a top-25 NCAA RPI.
The Wildcats excelled under Cedergren's aggressive attacking style of play in 2012. Kentucky's offensive attack was speared by goal-scoring threats Matt Lodge and Tyler Riggs, as UK finished with the 10th most points in single-season annals, ranking fourth in corner kicks.
Cedergren's first-year impact could be seen directly in the offense churned out from Lodge and Riggs, who combined for 14 goals and seven assists. Lodge set program records in shots in a season and career, while Riggs continued to set his sights on UK scoring records. Lodge, Riggs and defender Steven Perinovic each earned All-Conference USA accolades, with Lodge and Perinovic each earning all-region honors.
The Wildcats opened the Cedergren era with a grueling slate, which led to an 0-3 record and a 1-3 start, facing three top-25 teams to open the year. UK then rebounded, starting with a 1-0 win at No. 18 Louisville, kicking off a 9-4-2 record over its last 15 games. The Wildcats set a new program record for games played and wins against top-25 foes, also sporting its best road record since 1995 (6-2).UK entered the 2012 NCAA Tournament hosting berth against Xavier sporting the final regular-season RPI (No. 25) in the modern-era history of the program (2003-present).
Following the season, Wilder - an All-Conference USA midfielder in 2012 - was drafted in the Major League Soccer Supplemental Draft by FC Dallas. UK senior midfielder Charley Pettys was also inked to his first professional contract with the Los Angeles Blues in the USL. UK senior forward Gabriel Conelian also signed with the Portland Timbers of MLS, with Conelian playing on the U-23 development team.
UK's 2012 success was not limited to on the pitch, as UK compiled a 3.35 team GPA during the spring semester, the highest team GPA since the program starting keeping records in 2001.
A native of Sölvesborg, Sweden, Cedergren came to UK after spending five years with Dartmouth, leading the Big Green to the NCAA Tournament in each season, an impressive feat at an Ivy League program without athletic scholarships and significant academic requirements.
A former standout player at the University of Cincinnati, Cedergren helped pace Dartmouth to the Sweet 16 in two of the five years, including two Ivy League Championships.
The 2010 National Soccer Coaches Association of America Northeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year, Cedergren helped lead the Big Green to a 52-30-12 overall record, including a 22-9-3 mark in Ivy League play, with NCAA Tournament appearances from 2007-11. Dartmouth is one of just 10 programs to play in five consecutive NCAA Tournaments, the eighth-longest streak in the nation, winning the Ivy League title in 2008 and 2011.
Highly committed to the student-athlete experience and success on the field and in the classroom, Cedergren's Dartmouth teams won the NSCAA Team Academic Award for five consecutive seasons. In 2009, Dartmouth's team 3.46 GPA was the highest in the nation, with Dartmouth boasting three Scholar-Athlete All-America honorees.
Cedergren's impact on Dartmouth could been seen directly in the individual achievements of its student-athletes, guiding two players to All-America accolades, two Hermann Trophy candidates, Ivy League Player and Rookie of the Year honorees and 28 All-Ivy League selections. In addition, Dartmouth players earned an invite to the Major League Soccer Player Combine in four consecutive seasons.
Former Dartmouth head coach Jeff Cook - who coached Cedergren at Cincinnati - has been enrolled in the demanding UEFA Pro License coaching course throughout the 2011 year, requiring Cedergren to take on an enhanced role with the program, including coaching the team independently at times during spring games and preseason training sessions.
Highly active in recruiting the Dartmouth roster, Cedergren found success coaching international talents, with the 2011 Dartmouth roster featuring six international players from five different countries. UK's 2012 roster featured 10 international players.
Cedergren played for Cook at Cincinnati, after playing at the highest youth level in Sweden for Kalmar FF, also participating in the national development program. At UC, Cedergren was a three-year letterwinner and an All-Conference USA honoree. A former team captain, Cedergren helped lead UC to its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 1998 and a final-season top-20 ranking.
After concluding his playing career with a business-finance degree, Cedergren attained his master's in business administration from Xavier University, while also working full time in finance. Before beginning his coaching career, Cedergren spent eight years working in business, including time spent with U.S. Bank (2004-07) and the Johnson Investment Counsel (2001-04). While in Cincinnati, Cedergren coached with the Cincinnati Classics Soccer Club.
Cedergren is currently working on his EFA B Badge and has completed the NSCAA Premier, Advanced National and National certifications.
Cedergren, 38, is married to the former Julia Greenwald, a native of Cincinnati. The couple has two children, Gavin (seven) and Abigail (two).
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT CEDERGREN
"Johan has been a big part of one of the most successful periods in Dartmouth Men's Soccer history over the last five years and we will miss his contributions very much. We are always proud when one of our assistant coaches can move forward in his career, the opportunity to lead the men's soccer program at the University of Kentucky is a very exciting one for both Johan and his family. I am thrilled that he has earned this chance to begin his career as a head coach and have no doubt he will be hugely successful at UK. It's also important to recognize the professional manner in which the Kentucky Athletic Department conducted their coaching search. From my perspective this is a great match for an outstanding institution and a talented, up and coming coach.
Johan Cedergren is the third men's soccer head coach in program history.
"It is really exciting. We couldn't get happier for him and his family. I am just delighted for him moving forward in his career, but also because I feel like Kentucky is the type of institution that we would hope our assistants move into when they have jobs. It is a great position to leave Dartmouth for. Of course we are sad to see Johan go, this is the right opportunity for him and his career.
"Johan was a seriously competitive player and one of the best players I have ever coached in my over 20 years of being involved in college soccer. His passion for the game was very evident, even when he was playing. He was a bit older when I recruited him to the University of Cincinnati, so his final year in school, he was no longer eligible because of his age, so he took his senior year as a student-assistant coach. That was the first time that I saw his real interest in team organization, in putting real thought into building a team and the process, team management, all of those things that go along with coaching. That is when we knew he was going to be a really good coach."
"I have said this to a few people. I believe that his experience outside of the game, ironically, has really set him up well in terms of his professionalism, the fact that he has done his MBA, he has worked in the business world for a time. That helps him. I think he does a great job with preparation. That stands out to me. He is very current, up-to-date on sports science, conditioning and coaching. He is a passionate man. He wants to gain knowledge; he wants to see how he can be a better coach. For me that is one of the things that when you look across all sports and you see the top coaches, it is those that are always trying to get better. As a coach, once you start to think you have figured it all out, you are in trouble. He is so knowledgeable about the game. And our players really respect him and wanted to play for him. I feel that he was able to work with our student-athletes in the right way so that they knew that he could really help them become better players in college soccer." - Dartmouth Head Coach Jeff Cook
"Johan is a great hire for Kentucky. He was huge for me and Dartmouth during his time there. He really helped us jump the program to the next level. I had the chance to work with him after the season to get ready for the MLS Combine last year and he was huge for me there. He was that one missing link that we had as far as bringing his ideas and coaching ability that kind of brought us from being a competitive team to being a team that expected to win on the national stage. He is an important person and a lifelong friend in my life and I am just so excited that he has gotten the opportunity to coach Kentucky." - LA Galaxy and former Dartmouth MF Dan Keat
"The Kentucky program is one that has been on the cusp of national prominence for quite a few years. They have teetered in and out of the top 25 and the expectation for every program at Kentucky is probably to be in the top 10. UK's hire in Johan is a guy who will very likely take you there. For the school, the program and the athletics department as a whole, there is a man in place now who will get things done for the program." - University of Washington Head Coach Jamie Clark
BREAKING DOWN CEDERGREN'S TIME WITH THE BIG GREEN
In his first year at Dartmouth in 2007, helped the Big Green to an 11-4-3 record, with the fifth-best goals-against average in the NCAA (0.53).
Helped Dartmouth to the NCAA Sweet 16 and the Ivy League Championship with an 11-6-3 record, averaging 1.58 goals scored per game.
Dartmouth ranked 30th in the NCAA with 1.72 goals scored per game in 2009, posting a 10-7-1 record.
In 2010, Cedergren helped pace the Big Green to the NCAA Sweet 16, averaging a1.65 goals scored per game, with a 12-7-1 overall record.
Helped Daniel Keat completed his career in 2010 for the Big Green with four goals and five assists, earning a spot on the Los Angeles Galaxy, helping the Galaxy win the 2011 MLS Cup.
Helped direct Dartmouth to its fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth in 2011 with an 8-6-4 record, averaging 1.39 goals scored per game.
Mentored 2011 Ivy League Player of the Year Lucky Mkosana to 10 goals in 17 games in his senior season, completing one of the most prolific careers in school history.
Dartmouth averaged 27.8 goals scored per season during his tenure with the Big Green, owning a 492-360 advantage in corner kicks.
QUICK NOTES ON CEDERGREN
As the associate head coach, guided the Dartmouth Big Green to five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, despite battling the obstacles of playing in the academic-restricted Ivy League without athletic scholarships.
The 2010 National Soccer Coaches Association of America NCAA Assistant Coach of the Year, Cedergren worked directly with Dartmouth's midfield and forwards during his time with the Big Green.
Committed to academic success, Dartmouth won the NSCAA Team Academic Award for five consecutive years.
Has helped guide Dartmouth to a 52-30-12 overall record, one of only 10 programs to play in five consecutive NCAA Tournaments, the eighth-longest streak in the nation.
Has mentored a bevy of individual talents at Dartmouth, including two All-Americans, two Hermann Trophy candidates, Ivy League Player and Rookie of the Year honorees and 28 total All-Ivy League selections.
A Dartmouth player has been invited to the Major League Soccer Player Combine in four consecutive seasons.
Former All-Conference USA standout at Cincinnati, married to Cincinnati native, the former Julia Greenwald, living in the Queen City for 10 years, before coaching at Dartmouth. Johan and Julia have two children, son Gavin (six) and daughter Abigail (six-months).