Lindenwood’s men’s soccer team undergoes change with new coach, wins all postseason games

Number 7 Alexander Imig and number 10 Ohm Harape cheer with their teammates.

Photo by Micah Manuel

Number 7 Alexander Imig and number 10 Ohm Harape cheer with their teammates.

Hadel Abdelkarim, Reporter

This semester men’s soccer team experienced many changes this semester, including a new head coach.

Since getting a new head coach this semester, the men’s soccer team has played three games in the postseason and has won all three.

Head Coach Kris Bertsch has worked all around the U.S. from UConn University, Xavier University, and St. Louis University to Atlanta United Major League Soccer. Bertsch said he came to Lindenwood because of the opportunities that the athletic department has to offer.

“It’s an incredible place, it’s an incredible opportunity, [it] just went Division I,” Bertsch said. “I believe in everything it has to offer in terms of the academics, the athletics, and social life, and the packaging, and the people and I didn’t have to move my family to take this job, and I think it’s got nothing but upside.”

Number 7 Left Back Alexander Imig sweeps the ball from one of the players at Lincoln Trail Community College. (Photo by Micah Manuel)

When asked about expectations of the team and coming into Lindenwood after the Division I move, Bertsch knew that the team members had to change their mindset to enhance their performance for the different opportunities provided within Division I.

“It’s the one thing we’ve talked to the team numerous times as they didn’t actually sign up or commit to Division I experience; they were given this opportunity and that may not necessarily be for everybody, but the guys worked really hard this spring and we changed a lot within the culture,” Bertsch said. “It’s just something that I was excited to be a part of.”

With the different changes happening to the team like going to Division I and getting a new coach, the men’s soccer team has already won three out of three games for their post-season. After joining Lindenwood, Bertsch has made some changes to the team to help improve the culture by changing training habits, the team’s diet, sleep habits, and nutrition.

“I think, one I am a big believer of modeling behavior, I have to be diligent, on time, positive, uplifting, be organized, care for them, and if I can’t do that then they’re not going to do that,” Bertsch said. “Spring seasons are not very long, it goes really quick, but we’ve transformed so much already, so it’s pretty exciting.”

Midfielder Ohm Harape has been playing soccer since he was five years old and has been on a team for over three years. He reflects on the postseason games and how he and his teammates have done and the change in their mentality.

“Honestly, I think we did pretty well considering the changes and things that we had to do to get where we are right now,” Harape said. “The guys work hard in training, they want it, there’s something that had a switch in their mentality, and now they come to practice every day more and more and work hard for each and play for each other.”

Harape talks about some of the changes being made to the team and shared his thoughts on the improvements that the team has made.

Men’s soccer team huddling around one another ready to compete. (Photo by Micah Manuel)

“Since the start of the Spring [semester], we’ve seen major improvements in just the team in general, mentality their willingness to work hard every day in training has just taken to another level,” Harape said. “I feel like everybody’s more motivated to compete and fight for something next season.”

Harape said he is ready to compete and is looking forward to playing the next season with his teammates.

“I just want to work harder for the team, and I want to win, and I want to compete, and I’ve always been that way, you know something about this group brought it out more in me, and it got changed a lot in positive ways as a player and as a person,” Harape said.

Another student who’s reflected on their postseason is Alexander Imig who plays left back for the men’s soccer team. Imig has played soccer his entire life and has been on the soccer team for four years now. Imig also talked about some of the strategies that he believes helped the team win.

Number 10 Ohm Harape runs with the ball during the last post-season game against Lincoln Trail Community College. (Photo by Micah Manuel)

“Personally, my spring season has been a test, I started out full throttle and fully healthy, but then suffered two bad ankle injuries,’ Imig said. “With a lot of rehabbing and wishing I could play more than I physically could, the spring has been an interesting one. Winning three out of three games was delightful and [it] accomplished our main goal. The key strategy to winning those three is just being hard to play against, be tough, be gritty, work your tail off, and the results will come.”

Since Imig will continue playing for next season he also has some personal goals that he would like to achieve.

“My personal goal is to provide maximum value to the team both on and off the field, some people provide one or the other, my goal is providing both,” Imig said. “The other goal with the team is winning the Conference Championship for the Ohio Valley Conference.”

“Some people say their dreams or goals while others live them. Let’s see what we can do,” Imig said.

The men’s soccer team always looks for support, promotions, new recruitment, and new managers. If anyone is interested in helping and contributing to the team’s success should contact Bertsch at [email protected]