Head men’s soccer coach Michael Siener and associate coach Marty Todt have worked with the Webster University men’s soccer program for six years.
Siener served as an assistant to Todt before Siener and Todt switched coaching roles last year, but they said it has been a smooth transition.
“When I was young, my role models and people I looked (up) to were coaches. I always knew that was something I wanted to do,” Siener said.
Siener said Todt, who has coached men’s soccer at Webster for 25 years, was one of his role models. Siener was the associate head coach under Todt for three years, following a four-year career playing soccer, basketball and tennis for the Gorloks. Siener was also an assistant men’s basketball coach at Webster for 11 years. He will enter his ninth season as the men’s tennis head coach.
Siener started playing sports on a year round basis when he was seven years old. Playing high school sports, he said he knew staying in athletics was his career goal. Siener said the watching his players celebrate victory and scoring is why he became a coach.
Todt said he and Siener have always had a great working relationship. Siener said he started to see things differently as an assistant coach under Todt. Through coaching he learned aspects of the game he said he never saw as a soccer player.
“We as a staff always made our decisions together,” Siener said. “I’ve been recruiting in the other sports such as basketball and tennis. So that part of it, I’m already familiar with.”
Senior forward Patrick McCaffrey recalled being worried about how different things could be when Siener took over. The only difference McCaffrey noticed was the amount of players Siener recruited. McCaffrey said the recruits motivate him to push himself harder. He believes many of them have been battling for the same spots.
“I think (the transition has) been perfect. They really counteract each other really well,” McCaffrey said.
Todt believes Siener has the hard work ethic that a good coach needs. While an assistant under Todt, Siener asked him what it takes to become a good coach.
“He’s had a calming influence on me this year at times when I want to lose my mind and make some crazy decisions,” Siener. “He can kind of bring me back and say ‘Hey what about this or this’.”
Todt said he enjoys the new challenge of being associate head coach. What excites him most is being able to focus more on the individual player, and not having to worry about daily head coaching duties like recruiting, game jerseys, scheduling and calling referees.
“I’m able to come out of this more relaxed, and I’m not as uptight. (Siener and I) kind of knew this was going to be this way,” Todt said.
Siener said Todt is one of the least selfish people he’s ever met. He doesn’t want Todt to be any different than if Todt was still the head coach. Siener encourages Todt to intervene at practices if he recognizes something, or wants to run practice.
“I’m lucky. Because some other head coaches could have taken (the associate role) as a negative, and there could have been issues there,” Siener said.
Seniors Marc Hager, and Mark McHugh agree with McCaffrey that practices have stayed the same. Hager said Todt will still intervene in practices when he feels necessary.
“Last week, there was one time where Marty took over the older guys and we would normally do a keep-away drill like we were used to last year. He then called a lot of us out,” Hager said.
Todt said a good soccer coach will always care about his players, stay tuned to his players by keeping up with what they’re doing socially and academically, and knows what it takes to be succesful. Coaches who allow their players to have closure after their career are good coaches, said Todt.
“I would hate as a player to walk away from a program and say ‘Gosh I didn’t get what I wanted out of that.’” Todt said.
Todt says trust between a player and coach is important in order for players to have closure for the game. He said if players are having a bad practice, he expects them to give it their all, rather than throw in the towel. The coaches who don’t allow their players to throw in the towel are the good coaches in Todt’s eyes because the players can walk away with closure.
“(Siener) knows his responsibilities, and working under Marty, he’s gained a lot of experience. He doesn’t seem like a rookie,” McCaffrey said.
The Gorlok soccer team currently stands 6-2-3 under Siener’s direction. Siener recruited 31 freshmen, and seven transfer students this season. Last season, only two freshman were on the roster.The amount of new recruits Siener brought in allowed the Gorloks to up a reserve team.
Siener said the reserve team is a good opportunity for players to get playing time and learn what it takes to play at the collegiate level.