With the Wisconsin men's soccer team in the midst of its spring training schedule, UWBadgers.com caught up with first-year head coach Todd Yeagley to get his thoughts on the state of his new team. This is the second of four stories previewing the Badgers' spring season, which includes home games at Camp Randall Stadium on April 10 and April 15.
For the Wisconsin mens soccer team, this years edition of spring training is less about finding the right ingredients than it is about determining which recipe to use.
From a team that knocked on the door of the NCAA tournament, the Badgers return seven of 11 starters and four of their top five scorers for the 2009 season.
First-year head coach staffid=1074"> --> Todd Yeagley has a wealth of experience to work with, as the Badgers return 72 percent of their minutes from a year ago. He also has some holes to fill, however, and deciding just who goes where is the major focus for the Badgers during spring training.
The depth piece is the one were working on a lot, Yeagley said. Were trying to do a lot more in the way of big scrimmages to put players in some spots that maybe they havent played in.
Thats going to allow us to experiment a little bit and also let us see them play in person rather than on video.
Spring Preview Series
- sportid=122&storyid=17534"> --> Planting the Seeds for Success (April 1)
- sportid=122&storyid=17558"> --> Who, What, Where (April 3)
- No Lack of Leaders (April 6)
- Defensive by Design (April 8)
Each of the four players UW lost from last years team were valuable contributors, beginning up front with forward athid=5211&deptid=122"> --> Victor Diaz . The Madrid native led the Badgers in scoring in each of his first three seasons and ranked third on the team with nine points last season (2 goals, 5 assists). The three-time All-Big Ten selection finished his career ninth all-time at UW in goals (17), assists (19) and points (53).
In the midfield, the Badgers will be tasked with replacing athid=5211&deptid=122"> --> Kenny Dix , who started 18 games and enjoyed his best season as a senior with a pair of goals and three assists.
Half of the back line that contributed to a 1.01 goals-against average is gone, with the departure of seniors athid=5601&deptid=122"> --> Zack Lambo and athid=5600&deptid=122"> --> Andy Miller .
I think we have some good interchangeable players, and weve said that every training session is an opportunity to be effective in your role, Yeagley said. Were going to see who takes the reins and secures the positions moving through the spring and into the fall.
Some of the decisions are easy enough for Yeagley and his staff to make. athid=5596&deptid=122"> --> Scott Lorenz blossomed after being moved to forward last season, while fellow senior athid=6384&deptid=122"> --> Alex Horwath is the odds-on favorite to hold down the starting goalkeeper position for the third-consecutive season.
athid=6004&deptid=122"> --> Brandon Miller , athid=5964&deptid=122"> --> Pablo Delgado and second-team All-Big Ten selection athid=6006&deptid=122"> --> Taylor Waspi all were key components of the Badgers attack who will likely play up top again this season, while athid=5599&deptid=122"> --> Eric Conklin and athid=6603&deptid=122"> --> Aaron Nichols both were anchors on the defensive end for UW.
athid=6002&deptid=122"> --> Brian Bultman also has offensive experience for the Badgers, while athid=6599&deptid=122"> --> Cale Cooper , athid=7223&deptid=122"> --> Colin Monasterio and athid=6608&deptid=122"> --> Austin Spohn will battle for time, as well. The question is, at what position
From day one, weve said the overall success of this team is going to depend on players 1 through 28 and how they approach every day, Yeagley said. We need to experiment ourselves with whos better in certain roles.
Lorenzs case speaks to the value of spring practice. His move to forward last season came after experimentation during the spring season, when Lorenz shined after moving to the top of the formation.
The results were outstanding, as Lorenz enjoyed a breakout year with a team-leading 10 goals as a junior. He led the team in goals, points (23), shots (60) and shots on goal (34) and earned a spot on the All-Big Ten second team.
A similar approach this season will help Yeagley determine not only who will see the field, but also what formation the Badgers choose to use.
There are quite a few spots on this team, depending on how we play, that are wide open in my mind, Yeagley said. Were going to tinker with formations and there might be two or three players were thinking about for those positions.
The final product wont be clear until the season kicks off in late August, giving the 2009 edition of the Badgers the opportunity to build its own identity.
Its just a matter of finding the right chemistry on the team, Yeagley said. Thats going to take some time, but were patient and the guys are patient.
- sportid=122&storyid=17557"> --> Badgers kick off spring season against Loyola
- sportid=122&storyid=17534"> --> Spring Preview: Planting the seeds for success
- sportid=122&storyid=17212"> --> Camp Randall games highlight spring schedule