Marquette Mailbag: Markus Roeders

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Marquette Mailbag is a weekly feature in the Social Summer Series

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Marquette University women's soccer head coach Markus Roeders took timeout during the first week of the Golden Eagles' preseason to answer your questions as the guest of this week's installment of the Marquette Mailbag.

Q: My daughter is in middle school and loves playing soccer. What advice would you give her (and me) to help her continue to develop her skills to the point that she might be able to get a college scholarship?
- Rob, Whitefish Bay

A: Rob - great question. Youth soccer or sports in general is very structured these days and it is important to have young kids in an environment so they have fun and keep building on the passion of the sport. The more they enjoy it, the harder they work at it and their skills will improve. I would make sure that your daughter has access to good coaches/teachers who fuel her love of the game and as she gets older to put her in the right environment of competition and commitment level. Since she is still several years away from going to college, and there are many opportunities at the college level, being great at the fundamentals over the next few years may just open many more doors to play collegiate soccer.

Q: I read a story the other day about men's basketball coaches recruiting kids in 8th and 9th grade... that seems so young! Does this happen in soccer too? How early in a kid's playing days do you start recruiting?
- Jill, Waukesha

A: Jill - that would be very young for us. The kids at that age are still developing and growing into their bodies so it is difficult to assess how they may do at the collegiate level. Although we prefer to recruit at the later high school years, the trend is more toward high school sophomores and juniors, although we have picked up many, many talented players in their senior year as well.

Q: How does conference realignment affect you and the women's soccer program at Marquette? Obviously West Virginia was a great program. Do the new Big East teams have strong soccer teams?
- Adam, Milwaukee

A: Adam - The Big East is a fantastic conference and women's soccer across the league is very strong. Change is part of the college environment and I believe the future is very bright for our league. Teams are getting stronger and I actually think we have a big advantage due to our geography since Big East member schools have a tendency of not clustering their recruiting but it is more spread. It is very attractive for athletes plus you get to see much of the country as you compete against other schools. In 2013, we will add a couple top 25 programs with Central Florida and Memphis plus SMU, Temple and Houston are on the upswing.     

Q: You've been coaching for a long time now. What is the most challenging part of being a Division I head coach?
- John Richards, West Bend

A: Great question John. The greatest challenge is probably balancing the demands of pursuing my hobby, coaching at a great university, and spending quality and ample time with my family. I don't see coaching or being a head coach as a job, I am very fortunate in that regard. But, it is a constant so I have to make sure that I have balance. The other difficult part is seeing young athletes in our program dealing with health issues and injuries. Athletes want to play and compete and when that is limited or taken away, I am concerned about their well-being and getting back on the field.

Q: Coach Markus - best of luck this season. Who will replace Natalie Kulla as goalkeeper and what is Kulla doing now?
- Michelle P., Middleton, WI

A: Michelle - Thank you!  We are excited about this team and the year ahead.  I would say we lost one of the all-time great players in Marquette history and Natalie was truly special as a person, student and athlete. We won't replace her but someone else will need to step up and take over the goalkeeping role for our team. We are fortunate to have Sofie Schunk back for her junior year and Amanda Engel and Jordan Scott are talented freshmen. Natalie now lives in her hometown of St. Louis, works for the Boeing Company as an engineer and plans to start graduate school in St. Louis this fall. She is very bright and big things are ahead of her.

Q: If you had to pick one moment, what's the greatest feeling the game of soccer has ever given you?
- Bryce, Milwaukee

A: Bryce - wow! Not sure if I can answer that. I have been very fortunate to pursue my passion for the game my entire life. Growing up in Germany, soccer was always around me and a fabric of my upbringing. I love soccer. I have had many wonderful moments and feelings that tie in with the game of soccer. I think there is something very special when a group of people commit themselves to working extremely hard at playing the game and being successful. Perhaps the need of individual excellence but then the sacrifice of giving up the individual reward for the good of the team and the joy on the team's faces when a goal is achieved or success is earned. This might be too deep but for me it is definitely always centered around the team.

Q: What will it take for you to not wear shorts during a game?
- Randall, West Allis

A: Randall - I love wearing shorts. It is rarely too cold to wear shorts; I guess the NCAA could pass a rule and ban it. I don't see it coming though!

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