TSW Q&A: U17 Bethesda Freedom and University of Maryland coach Jonathan Morgan discusses top talent
By Charles Boehm and Roger Gonzalez
Jonathan Morgan is one of the busiest coaches this weekend at the Jefferson Cup in Richmond. The tactician, who is the head coach for the University of Maryland, also coaches U17 squad Bethesda Freedom, which is participating in the Championship division. On Day 1, he took the time to speak to The Soccer Wire about his squad, the tournament and more!
TSW: On Friday, your team took down Herndon Firecats of Virginia 3-2 (Click here for the thoughts of Herdon coach Nadir Moumen). How did the match go against the familiar foe?
JM: Typically, we have had success against them. It is usually a pretty tight match. It was a good result. Obviously, it’s the first day of the tournament, it’s what you want.
You always know both teams are going to keep the ball on the floor and play, and knock it, and build, and recognize how to break the pressure so we can find our forwards. It’s probably going to be a little bit slower, but it’s going to be more a little more thoughtful. I think whenever we match up, it’s a good soccer game.
TSW: Your team managed to really convert in front of goal, putting together some spectacular plays. What impressed you about the play? What were you unhappy with?
JM: [The first one], it was a free kick. Jordan [Coburn] serves the ball into the box, Tyler [Lussi] gets a little flick and Cortney [O’Connell] puts it away. The second goal, Tyler does a great job of showing, does a nice little lay off for Cortney. Cortney drives to the end line, Tyler spins out, flies to the box, then Cortney puts a great delivery run infront of the goal mouth and Tyler puts it away…Three really great goals for us today. One off a free kick, then two from the run of play.
[I’m] a little disappointed about the goals we gave up. We continue to keep giving up soft goals right now just because of organization…We allow players to get free, and we always get burned by it. If we can tighten our defending up right now, we will be in a pretty good place for the rest of the tournament.”
TSW: Have many of your players already committed to college programs? Where are some of them heading?
JM: I think we have five or six [uncommitted]…obviously we’ve got kids going to some pretty good school. We’ve got kids going to [Virginia] Tech, Miami, Yale, all over.
TSW: One of the players that has caught the eye of many is midfielder Andi Sullivan, who is in the national pool. How is her recruiting process going?
JM: She has not decided yet, that’s the hot one. I think that [her decision] will happen in the next couple of weeks. She’s down to four schools. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say what our they are yet…The schools that she has, they are all very comparable academically, very comparable athletically.
TSW: Coburn, Lussi, O’Connell and Grossman all showed their skill on Day 1. How good are they?
JM: Those four kids, if they don’t get a look right now in U17, I think by the time they get to college, they will be in the national program at some point. They are that good.
TSW: What about Grossman specifically, what is her plan? Has she committed?
JM: She is going to Yale. She could have gone to a bunch of schools…If she ever commits herself to [the sports], like if she really, really embraces it, she could be phenonemal, a national team player without a doubt. She has got that many tools…It’s just a matter of how badly does she want it, does she want to pursue that…She makes it look so easy, so effortless.
TSW: Obviously you are down here to recruit as well. What is the plan for when you aren’t coaching?
JM: We’ll check out the U-15s and U-16s. Seen a lot of these kids so far so now it’s time to follow up with the evaluation – add some, take some off, confirm what you’ve seen before.