Men's Soccer Preseason Media Day Coverage
Aug 21, 2013
Kentucky Men's Soccer
VIDEO: Men's soccer media day press conference
Kentucky Men's Soccer
Fall Media Day
Media Room at Memorial Coliseum- Lexington, Ky.
Aug. 20, 2013
Head Coach Johan Cedergren
Opening Statement ...
""I can't believe it's been 12 months since we did this last. It's been an exciting 12-18 months since I took over. We had a great fall. We had a great spring in terms of grades. We did well in terms of finishing in the top 25 in the RPI, which I don't think we've done that before. We beat some quality teams. There is a team that wears red in this state that we were able to beat in front of 5,000 fans, so that doesn't hurt either. It was a good season last year and now it's just a matter of what are we going to do going forward. The expectations we have here, if you look at some of the other programs the bare minimum is that you make the NCAA Tournament, and I think we did that for just the fifth time in school history. It was the first time in a long time (first since 2003) and now what are we going to do? That's kind of the challenge we have in front of us. Are we going to be able to set a precedent where it is the same with us, where we expect to make the tournament every year? There has been a fair amount of turnover. We had a good senior class leave. We've got a huge freshmen class coming in, again. It was good that we did that last year. We learned some things to do and maybe some things to tweak. We're only a week into preseason, but you can already tell that the guys coming in, it's a high-quality freshman group. I have to give a lot of credit to Coach (Erik) Imler and Coach (David) Casper and our director of operations Marco dos Santos because they have worked their tail off to get that class here. Those kids are really committed and they understand what it means to be an athlete at the University of Kentucky and they also understand the expectations when you are here. It's not good enough to just make the tournament every now and then. We're expecting great things from all programs and for us it's either time to put up or shut up, so we want to do it again this year.
"We have a very good senior class. There are only four of them, but ever since January or so when they had to take over the leadership roles, they've done a good job. They work hard. They lead by example. They sort kids out if they need to be sorted out. We have a pretty good dialogue in terms of them coming to me to make adjustments. We're just very excited to get going. We get to play Dayton tonight. (Dayton). We also have an exciting schedule and of course we play in one of the best conferences in the country. The SEC does not have men's soccer, so we play in the Conference USA. With all the realignment, we've got New Mexico, Old Dominion, Charlotte and FAU coming in, which I would say puts us in the top two or three in the country, in terms of conferences. Seven teams out of the 10 in our conference made the NCAA Tournament last year, so it will be a brutal conference schedule, but that's what we want. We want to play against the best.
"Xavier has been kind enough to offer a rematch. They knocked us out of the tournament last year, so we're going to go up and play them there (Cincinnati), which I'm really excited about. I really respect Coach (Andy) Fleming and what they do up there. They've gone three years in a row to the NCAA Tournament, so we want to be just like them and we get a chance to play them again. We get to go down to South Carolina and play Dartmouth and South Florida, which will be two really good non-conference games. Then we head into the meat and potatoes of the conference schedule. We're very excited and we feel like we're in a good spot. We're very, very young, but we're also hungry, we're driven and we have a lot of talent, so it's going to be interesting to see what we can do with that."
On if the veteran presence is that much more important with such a young team ...
"Absolutely, and that's one of the things that I was maybe not crystal clear on with the former senior class. There are some expectations if you have that big of class coming in. If you are the seniors, then you lead by example. Some things you got away with as a junior, all of a sudden you don't get away with anymore. Its little things like putting your stool up so the cleaning crew can sweep the floor, tying your shoes, bringing your shin guards, being early, tucking your shirt in or whatever you want to do. It's the little things. I was telling someone that I was going to bed after the Xavier game exhausted, but feeling really happy. It was a good first year. We did good, we made the tournament. I woke up at 3:30 in the morning, sweating about next year. That transition happens fast. We have to get going, we have to bring new players in and we have to get the juniors to become seniors. We've worked hard with these guys, but they've done great. They've done everything we've asked of them so far."
On the stadium construction ...
"What I've told the guys, this senior class and the guys who have been here before, they are the ones who earned that stadium. Mitch (Barnhart) and the university have given their support to build this stadium because of the success that they had or the players they had coming through and how they behaved, so we have to be very appreciative of the ones who have been here before. They are the ones who got us to a place where we now have a brand new stadium, which will be ready at some point later this fall."
On if he is familiar with what he is getting into as he enters his second season ...
"Yes, and I'm also a lot more worried because we did this last year. I have to give a lot of credit to my staff. They are very knowledgeable and hard working. What we have going into this preseason is a protocol. We did it once already. We know what works and maybe some things to tweak. We hope, without playing any games that we are further along. We'll find out tonight and then we have another week and a half to prepare for Wright State."
"What you find a lot is that you have maybe one or two that are just born leaders on your squad and they'll come along every four to six years. Then you have that junior class that has to transform into a senior class and sometimes that can take a little work, but if you are proactive as a staff and you find - if they're juniors then you should already know how to challenge them by now - so you find ways to get them more involved. Tyler (Riggs) isn't much of a talker, so we have to get him to be a little more vocal. Jack (Van Arsdale), that comes a little more natural to him. He doesn't mind talking. You give them different roles so that the whole group becomes one big leader."
#1, Sr., Jack Van Arsdale, GK
On the growth of the program ...
"It's been a huge shift in terms of the culture. There is an excitement as in the past where it was kind of a grind. It was training every day and you would get knocks and bruises and your body wears out and it was just a grind. Yes, we still put in that hard work with this staff but at the same time there is excitement every day and it's a privilege to come out and train. It's not so much of a job anymore, it's a privilege now and there is an excitement about mimicking the success we had last year and going forward, but at the same time it's a completely different transition in terms of the culture and the attitude around the lockeroom and the field."
On enjoying the experience of playing at UK ...
"Even though the season is pretty short, 20 games or something like that plus postseason, it feels like an eternity. There are a lot of sessions crammed into the time that we have and it takes a toll on your body. As well as physically challenging it is also mentally challenging because there is a million different assignments that you have to do with school as well as what you have to do with your soccer team whether it is on the field or off. Those things can wear you down over a season when you go straight from the fall into spring training into summer training then right back into it. In the past you are just like, oh man `I have to do this then have to do this and have to do this, and now it's just like I get to do this'. We get to step out onto one of the most beautiful fields in the country with some of the nicest maintained facilities, nicest gear and the best staff and it's an absolute privilege. It's now a get to instead of a have to."
#9, Sr., Tyler Riggs, F
On the growth of the program ...
"I would agree with Jack. I believe it is more of a professional atmosphere. Everything that we do is for a purpose whether it is eating with the team or practicing or just going through a simple walk-through. Coaches set the new standard high and where we were last year we want to go further and further. I would say the overall atmosphere is just at a higher level."
On the new complex and the ongoing construction ...
"We probably have the best pitch in the world. I don't think the construction going around will affect our gameplay at all. We would have loved to have it done because we were all really excited about it but I'm sure it will get done eventually. The only thing that matters to us is the game and the field and that is in perfect condition."
On the new Conference-USA ...
"Conference USA, since my freshman year has been one of the top conferences in the country. With the four new teams coming in (Charlotte, Old Dominion, New Mexico and FAU) there all top-25 teams that have made it to the tournament consistently. It's been a privilege and it's been awesome competition because in order to make it to the NCAA tournament and to be the best you can be it's always more fun to play the better competition. Being able to play against opponents like that is just an awesome experience and makes us better as a whole."