Green Bay Glory sideline reporter Madeline Kumm had a chance to interview the Head Coach of the Green Bay Glory, Chad Johnson. They spoke about pre-season, players, and expectations. Read about his take on all things Glory below:
MK: Let’s dive right into the excitement and anticipation known as pre-season. What has the training atmosphere been like, and what demands have you faced while preparing this brand-new team for the challenges that come with playing pro soccer?
CJ: As a first year organization, you expect obstacles and multiple challenges. I'm pleased because the Glory ownership, sponsors, and administration has taken so much off our plate so the coaching staff can focus on team bonding and player development. We've been training for a few weeks but we have only been outside once due to weather. Plus, just like other teams, we are waiting for players to arrive from their respected colleges and high schools. The work rate and competitiveness in training has been consistently high. Players are bonding and as a team we are embedding ourselves into the community by volunteering and developing special relationships. We already have a strong following and we look forward to rewarding our sponsors and fan base with success and integrity on and off the field.
MK: Who are the players to watch this season, and what can fans expect to see out on the field?
CJ: This is a loaded question. I think it’s the team dynamics that Glory fans will enjoy. We have a mix of D1, D2, D3, high school and post college years players. We have two solid goalkeepers, tremendous goal scorers, and a tenacious defense and a high degree of tactical and technical ability in the midfield. The trick is getting everyone to play together and understand the strength and weaknesses of their teammates. We are still waiting on some of our players and we are still learning names and a system of play. It’s a very exciting time for the Green Bay Glory.
MK: For a new team, team expectations are crucial. They set the tone for attitude in and outside the stadium. What traits do you hope to instill in your players in order to set them up for a successful season?
CJ: Great question! Primary expectations are, function as a family on and off the field. Form the habits of doing the things that unsuccessful people don't do. Make the players around you better players and better people. And finally respect the game in a way that allows you to go home, lay down in bed, look at the ceiling and say I DID versus if only I WOULD HAVE, COULD HAVE or SHOULD HAVE.
MK: Something that is wondered but not often talked about...the difference between coaching men and women in sports, but especially the sport of soccer. As someone who has coached both men and women, how do you alter your coaching to each, and what sort of diversity do you find between the two?
CJ: Another great but tough question to address. It’s only my opinion, but I feel women have a higher commitment to team and their teammates. And just the opposite, if a player on a female team doesn't fit in, this can cause a kink in team chemistry and interpersonal development which effects outcomes and goals. Again, only my opinion but I think it’s easier for a male player to play next to someone he doesn't care for and still have a high degree of success. At this level of play, both players are committed, both work hard, both want to win. No one wants to be the weak link or the reason a team fails to achieve goals in training, in the match and off the field.
MK: Growth is the key to success, especially with a new team--if you’re not improving, you’re moving backward. New athletes, different skill levels, and different experience levels are all factors that need to thrive harmoniously. How do you plan to get the most out of each player and motivate them the entire duration of a season?
CJ: One of the reasons the Green Bay Glory has three assistants and a GK Coach is for this specific reason. Our coaches are coached to watch for signs such as body language, communication tones, if a player is engaged or withdrawn, work ethic and are players actively and consistently involved with off the field community type activities. Every coach will have their motivational techniques but the Glory staff is committed to open and honest communication and feedback. If a player hasn't been seeing much playing time, we need to act quickly and make sure the player understands what needs to happen to increase their playing time. My biggest technique and I expect this from each of the Glory staff is, if you say you’re going to do something, follow through with it and do it. For a player to be engaged and motivated, they need constant communication about their role and responsibilities. Players can also be motivated by being held accountable. The Green Bay Glory also puts a heavy emphasis on having fun and supporting our community. If this means we skip a few training sessions to focus on the Green Bay community, post game body recovery, or a movie night, that’s what we will do together.