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UK Men's Soccer Preseason Media Day

UK senior midfielder Cameron Wilder meets with the media.

UK senior midfielder Cameron Wilder meets with the media.

Aug. 16, 2012

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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The Kentucky men’s soccer team joined women’s soccer, volleyball and track and field for a preseason fall sports media day on Thursday at Memorial Coliseum. Check out the complete transcript and video from UK head coach Johan Cedergren and senior midfielder Cameron Wilder.

Cedergren Press Conference Quotes

Opening statement …
“Thank you very much for staying around, I have been here for about an hour or so. In case you heard that joke about the translator, it’s a new term in the soccer office, it’s called Swenglish. My players are getting pretty darn comfortable with it. Yesterday, I called Jack, Jake, our starting goalkeeper and I was standing yelling at him pointing, Jake… Jake… and he was looking right back at me and said who are you talking to. It’s getting better, we are about a week into preseason and we actually came straight from practice. It has been very, very good. We have 12 guys coming back and 13 new guys coming in, it’s a lot of new faces but the returners have been great so far as helping out. It’s not just Matt Lodge, our captain, its every single one of those guys coming back. They were here in the spring, I have been here since late December, and I think the guys that were coming back had a lot of uncomfortable moments in the spring with trying to get things how I wanted and getting it all figured out. They now have gone through it once so they are here and helping out and getting us ready for tomorrow’s exhibition verse Northern Kentucky.

“We start against Dayton next Sunday, but again for me and my staff we can’t believe it is here. We were sitting here in May, planning practices for August and it’s here and we are knee-deep into it. We are all healthy and looking good, and we have a very, very tough schedule but here now we don’t have any negatives. Early they (Coach Lipsitz) talked about the A and B squad and where there is no one really standing out, with everyone working hard there is a lot of competition.”

On his feel for the team …
“I have been here for six months or so, and I have had time to work with the returners and I feel I have a good feel for them. Cam (Wilder) can attest to this, with him playing holding center-midfielder last year in the fall and we kept him in the spring and now when I had all this time in the summer I had time to redraw my plans and I think he will now play attacking midfield.  I think we have a pretty good feel for the 12 coming back, but for the 13 coming in we have only worked with them for about a week. Of course we saw them all before they got here; a couple of them are really high profile. A couple of them on the U20-Canadian National team, another on the U-17 US National team and a couple players from Norway who played at a very high level and I think all 13 coming in have a chance to contribute right away. We had a scrimmage and I believe it ended in a tie at 1-1. So we are still trying to figure some things out but we are very happy with all the guys.”

On recruiting for need or style …
“Yes and Yes to both. The way we are doing things here at Kentucky under me may be a litter different then how some others play in the country. We are going to be a lot more demanding in the classroom and on the field, and with social life. We are very upfront with our recruits, you are coming here because we don’t want to be one of the worst programs, we want to be just like some of the most successful programs and that will take a lot of effort and a lot of your time. That is kind of how we want to start things and there is normally a couple guys that say it is not for me, but after that initial screening it goes to best available. I would say even though we didn’t have much time, those 13 coming in are saying to people if they had that much time they don’t know if they could have done much better. So that is a very, very good class coming in. That shows how much pool that this institution and this athletic program has.”

On any surprises during his first year on campus …
“I think I say this all the time but the level of interest just around town with people recognizing you and this isn’t the highest profile sport in the world but around here all the sports at Kentucky matter. I was told that when I was hired here, but you just are surprised because people bleed blue around here.”

On why he took the UK job …
“Like I said at my introduction, I took this job because I believe the sky is the limit. You want to work somewhere where it matters and there are some places where as long as you stayed out of trouble that was all that matters. We all know how Mitch (Barnhart) is, and he wants them all to win and I wanted to go somewhere where it mattered. Where you get all the resources that you needed to win and when you call a kid and say we think you could be a good recruit for us and they won’t slam the phone down on you. As far as the season, my staff and I probably would have minded another week because you just changed the dynamic with the freshman. I think we had a great spring and it worked just the way you wanted it to but now you throw in the 13 freshman in there, that changes the dynamic of the group but we will be ready to play Dayton.”

On his defensive approach …
“That’s what we are working on right now. If you look at it, we allowed 33 goals last year and that is just not going to get us to where we want to go. We are working on a lot of basic defending, 1 v 1 defending and 2 v 2 defending as well as working on set pieces. We are really trying to focus on the 18 games and allowing 18 goals or less in, that is our goal. That has been communicated to the guys and they are buying in, we were working on set pieces this morning and we have made the guys aware of how important it is to not let a goal in.”

On a balanced offense and defense …
“Yeah, I would say we have that. Coach Imler and Casper are a huge help as well. They love the defensive side of the ball and in college soccer one goal can win you the game so if you let that go in you can lose the game. Our structure going on is to be more physical, structure, and also creative going forward but we can’t lose track on stopping the goals from going in.”

On the possibility of the SEC adding men’s soccer …
“You know, you would love to see that but that is above my pay-grade.”

Wilder Press Conference Quotes

On the chemistry of the newcomers and returnees …
“It’s gone great, we helped the freshmen into the dorms earlier and the chemistry has been unbelievable so far in the preseason and it should be better once the season gets going. Just helping out the players and the senior class is so tight and the juniors as well as the sophomores are phenomenal. I’m just excited for what is going to come in the future.”

On the comfort level with coach Cedergren …
“It’s good. It is a good line because it’s comfortable to go talk to coach if we need to but we know he makes the ultimate decision and we are all aware of that. Training has been really good and competitive like coach said, you got to be at your best day in and day out, and coach always talks about details like being to meetings on time, and being to things five minutes early because you’re late if you’re on time.”

On coach Cedergren always being there as a coach, mentor and friend …
“It’s not hesitation or issue if we have a question to call coach and he will tell us straight up if there is anything he can do, and the whole staff is like that.”

On how much that can help a team …
“Drastically, the sky is the limit as long as that communication is always there. Some think it could hurt a team but it is just the details that matter.”

On his opinion of preseason rankings …
“It’s preseason and we are focused on the present, and what is going to happen in the future. They predict us seventh but that is based off the past and we are focused on the present. It’s good to be the underdog, to be low key and continue to work hard and live by what Coach Lipsitz says to work hard every day. We can only control our actions on the field and what we need to do to get to that point. I think we use it as motivation since we know what we can do.”


 

 

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