New coach, new confidence

First-year head coach Michael Singleton brings a fresh approach to W&L Men’s Soccer


Courtesy of W&L Sports Information

New coach Mike Singleton gets his team ready to hit the field.

Mac Trammell

Along with its new coach, the Washington and Lee Men’s Soccer team has developed a new mindsight and a newfound confidence.

Michael Singleton, first-year head coach of the men’s team, came to W&L with a distinguished coaching record (35-18-4) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he won both a regular season and conference tournament championship in three years.

Even with his success at MIT, there was an understandable uncertainty amongst the players heading into the season. With a new coach can come position changes, aberrations to expected playing times and having to learn and become accustomed to a new system.

“With a new coach, it’s hard because there are a lot of new expectations to do a lot of different things,” Singleton said.

Senior goalkeeper Albert Civitarese was worried like the rest of his teammates.

“The team, as any team would, was definitely uncertain about where the season would head under Coach Singleton,” he said.

As Singleton admitted, the relationship between a coach and team is a two-way street. In addition, Singleton has had to adjust from working at a technical institute in the middle of a huge New England metropolis to a liberal arts college in a small Virginia town.

To ease both his and the players’ nerves, Singleton held a team meeting last winter outlining his focus for the season.

“He clearly laid out what needed to be changed with our system and how he proposed to do it,” said Civitarese. “By doing so, everyone was able to get on the same page early on. Without that clear instruction there could have been a much [longer] transitional period.”

Singleton, quick to compliment, gave credit to the team for its open-mindedness and work ethic that led to a smoother transition for both sides.

“Everyone was extremely welcoming,” he said. “Everyone has been extremely friendly to make it an easy transition… I inherited a great group of players.”

Singleton’s open communication and open personality quickly won the team over. Now, with an entire season (11-4-1) complete and the fifth seed in the ODAC tournament in hand, the team has full confidence in him.

“Without a doubt in my mind I would say the team respects him not only as a coach but as a person,” Civitarese said.

Sophomore defender Dylan Stroud said that he has been won over by Singleton’s openness and transparency, too.

“He makes clear what he expects of his players, and coming in he had a clear plan as to how he wanted the team to play,” he said.

Under the guidance of Singleton, the Generals feel that they are well placed for a bright future. And with a strong bond between the players and their new coach, the team can achieve great potential. Just ask Civitarese.

“Having spent a season under coach Singleton, I wholeheartedly believe he is the right man for the job.”