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Johan Cedergren Press Conference Quotes

Johan Cedergren announced as UK's third head coach during a press conference on Thursday.

Johan Cedergren announced as UK's third head coach during a press conference on Thursday.

UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart

Opening Statement …
“I appreciate everybody coming out early this morning. This is a little different start time for us basketball wise, so we are appreciative to everybody getting down here earlier for a very special announcement for us today. We are going to introduce our new heads men’s soccer coach today. He just told me that if this was going to be a regular occasion meeting with the media then it was probably a deal breaker. We are thrilled he is here today.

“We have brought in a young man that has an extensive background in the game of soccer, obviously. But what is really cool is the ties he brings to the area. He played at the University of Cincinnati, he married a woman from that area and he has family ties here. He has a brother that is actually going to school up in the area of Cincinnati. His mother and his brother are here today.

“Now, we want to introduce to you today our men’s soccer head coach Johan Cedergren. I think I will get that (pronunciation) right, but I will probably screw that up about four times before I do. We are thrilled that Johan has come to be our new men’s soccer coach.

“He comes to us from Dartmouth University, where he was an associate head coach for five years. They have made some incredible runs in NCAA men’s soccer. They have won a couple of Ivy League titles up there, they have made five straight NCAA appearances, two Sweet Sixteen appearances, have had multiple MLS combine invitees and players of the year honors while he has been there.

“He brings a knowledge of the game, having played it at Cincinnati, and an experience level that we are very pleased with. He enjoys the science of the game and understands the tactics, but more importantly what it takes to be fit and what it takes to be prepared to play the game of soccer at a high level. They have done a marvelous job at Dartmouth with no athletics scholarships, only academic scholarships, yet made some incredible runs and played a high-level schedule that we play at Kentucky and some of the same teams that we have played. He has had an opportunity to compete against some of the same people.


 

 

“He knows our roster, he knows what we look like and he knows the area and has family and ties in this area. This is a place that he wanted to be and sought this job out. And that was something that was very important to us that he wanted to be here and wanted to set roots down at the University of Kentucky for a long time.

“It is with great pleasure and excitement for our men’s soccer program that I introduce you to the head coach of our Kentucky Wildcats, Johan Cedergren.”

UK Head Coach Johan Cedergren

Opening Statement …
“Thank you, Mitch (Barnhart). I am really excited to be here. I just wanted to first of all thank Mitch Barnhart, Dr. Eli Capilouto, and Kevin Saal, our sport administrator. Of course, I also want to thank the Dartmouth staff. I had five wonderful years there. The AD Harry Sheehy, and coach (Jeff) Cook who has done a wonderful job for a long time at Dartmouth. I think again, it’s just a wonderful opportunity and a dream come true to me. Having been in Cincinnati for 10 years, and having played against the Wildcats, and coached against them, I think this is an unbelievable place. It is a great academic institution, and it has a great athletic department. We are very excited about getting started and getting things going as soon as we get here in early January.”

On the potential of this team now …
“I would say that the potential is probably limitless. I think that what Mitch (Barnhart) has done since he has been here at Kentucky is show that every program gets an incredible amount of support and I think with the academic profile of the university, and all of the resources, I think we can go all the way here. I think the facilities are wonderful, there are some potential plans of upgrading them even further and I think we have a wonderful roster already. I think we have a wonderful roster coming back. This is not a rebuilding process by any means. They had a fantastic start to the season last year and kind of fell off a little bit, but Dartmouth last year tied Brown to win the Ivy League title. Kentucky early in the season actually beat Brown 5-1, and Brown went to the Sweet 16. I think there are a lot of pieces in play that could take us really far in season one, and I think there are some exciting prospects that we are working on for the next year and on. So, I would say I do not see a limit in terms of upside.”

On his tactical style of play …
“That’s an interesting question because you always have a style of play that you enjoy watching. I think that what you want to do, it that you want to be sure that when you bring players here, that there is a four-year progression, and that you always ask more of them. So, I think in college soccer, you have to be sound defensively and you have to be able to defend. You want to do more and you want to be able to attack and pass the ball and coach (Jon) Lipsitz has been here three seasons is a big fan of the 4-3-3 system, which is something I like to do as well. Maybe a little structure within it, but the same parameters and I think that you want to pass the ball and you want to make it a good show for the audience that comes and the players that want to play for you. I think if you solely focus on defense and set pieces, it is tough to get big crowds. I think coach (Jon) Lipsitz has done a great job and he has been able to increase the crowds and I think I need to try to do just what he is doing. Big Blue Nation supports all of their sports teams, and I think it will be great going forward.”

On his coaching and professional background …
“I think the six years or so I spent away from the game after I graduated, it was one of those things where I spent four years getting my degree, so maybe I should try out and work in the field. I had a really good time at first, and got my MBA, and got a much bigger job with more responsibilities that maybe I didn’t enjoy as much. I had a son at the same time, so I had a lot of time to think about what I wanted to do. That’s when I decided that it was time to do what I was really passionate about. Having been in the business world, and having had a book of business with 350 clients and doctors and successful business owners, I think working 24-7, 365, that is what is going to be needed here as well. There is a lot of good soccer in the midwest, and of course they are not just going to invite me to come and do what I want to do, so I am going to have to compete with them right off the bat. I think to have that background and to know what it takes to be successful. If you can build a book of finance in the city of Cincinnati in terms of the finance and business industry, then you can build a program and make it successful, because the brand name that we have here at UK is just fantastic.”

On his playing days at the University of Cincinnati …
“I played center midfield at Cincinnati. (UK men’s soccer SID) Brent (Ingram) found a fantastic picture of me in my playing days. I am much slimmer than the coaching photo, which is unfortunately side-by-side. I was a center midfielder, and going back to style of play, the center midfielder is always on the ball, always wants the ball, and he wants to move the ball forward and create chances. I think that goes back to the style of play. You want to create chances, you want to give the kids a chance to touch the ball as much as possible.”

On the importance of academics …
“I think it is hugely important. I think the student-athlete experience is one that we really want to stress here at Kentucky. We will be very successfully athletically, and we will be very successful academically. If you can’t do both, and not be good in the classroom, this is probably not the place for you. We want to be able to succeed in both. We understand getting a contract in the MLS is the dream of everyone, but you have to have something to lean back on afterwards. It will be more or less a requirement to graduate when you finish playing. There will be no leaving early. Going back to Dartmouth, with me coming from Sweden, where there is no university sports system, I think what we are doing over here is an unbelievable combination of the two. To be able to play high-level sports, while at the same time, getting your degree. I just think there is no in-between. You have to do both. You are a student-athlete.”

On his recruiting base being in Lexington …
“I think it will be a little different. I think at Dartmouth we had to do a little bit more national recruitment. And, because of the academic requirements, as well as the financial requirements because I didn’t have a scholarship to offer, I think here it will be a little more regional. Mitch (Barnhart) was talking about the six-hour circumference of Lexington. I think within those six miles, the brand name of Kentucky will open any door, so you have to open any door in your region first, and make sure there is no stone unturned. Once you have success, then you can branch out, and you have a California kid, and an Arizona kid. Also, being from Sweden, and having brought international players to Dartmouth, I think that is also something I can bring to the table using my connections. I have great connections in Scandinavia, and if I can get two Swedes’ ACT scores high enough to get into Dartmouth, that should not be a problem to get them in (school) here.”

On the UK Soccer Complex, and if upgrades are needed …
No, not at this point. I was just at the facility today and walking through it, and I think it is a wonderful facility. I know there was a tremendous playing surface upgrade last summer. It was covered with a tarp, but we peeled off a little piece so I could see it, and at this point I think it is a wonderful facility, and I don’t think we need anything. I think the new video tower is great so you can break the film down before and after the game. I think it is great the way we have it now.  I think there are some places in the country that maybe have it a little better, but I am sure I am going to be in Mitch’s (Barnhart) office asking for things. I know it is a priority for Mitch that there are several sports that are getting ready for an upgrade.”

On what success would be to him after the spring seasnon …
“Success would be to get everyone that is currently on the roster to but into what I want to do. I think every coach has his own philosophy, and I think every coach has a way of doing things, so I think there is going to be a difference for some of the players. You don’t want to run anyone away. We have made a big commitment to these guys and we want them to be successful after they leave here and after they graduate. I think that for me, success would be once the spring is over, they have all bought into our system, they have worked extremely hard in the weight room with our staff and me. I think that is where I would leave it as well. Also, a good cumulative GPA as well.”

On if he has ever been to a Kentucky basketball game before …
“My mother and brother are here today, so we are going to sit and watch today. Again, I have two degrees, one from Cincinnati and one from Xavier. I have watched both of them play before, but I have never watched a Kentucky basketball game before.”

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