The University of Minnesota Golden Gopher soccer team started a new era on Wednesday as they opened their 2012 season with a new coach at the helm. Stefanie Golan took the team through two practices which will be the regime for the next 8 days as they prepare the players for the rigors of the Big Ten season. Golan will see the Gophers through their 20th season and takes over after 8 successful years under former coach Mikki Denney Wright.
“I know everyone’s name now,” said a smiling Golan who was hired just four short weeks ago after Denney Wright surprised the program with her resignation.
“Today was all about evaluation. We did a fitness test in the morning and then let them play this afternoon. We really didn’t coach them today.”
Golan said that her assistants, Krystle Seidel, who returns to the Gophers for her 4th season as a coach, and new assistant Deana Waintraub, who worked with the head coach at Army, took the team through a scrimmage while Golan took notes. Golan explained that she evaluated players on their performance, how they took their coaches’ advice into their play and how players fit into different slots.
The new Gopher head coach says morning training will be about fitness while the afternoon sessions will focus on tactics, explaining that they will start working on their system of play which is still undetermined. The former Army coach says they have a “couple of different ideas in mind” with the players on the Gophers roster.
In an earlier podcast interview with the enthusiastic Golan, she told IMS that she would not come in with a set formation for the team but instead is the type of coach that will form her system of play around the players she has.
“The work ethic is as high as I’ve seen from a team from day one when with the weather has been so physically taxing,” said Golan. “You give me that and you give me a good attitude and we’ll be able to do some really good things.”
The new Gopher coach said that Thursday they will start working with the players tactically. “It’s going to be fun,” she added.