A new sports season doesn’t just mean new players. It also means there are new coaches at Madison Area Technical College. WolfPack soccer has just added some new blood to their mix.
Assistant coach Sam Ramirez brings both years of soccer experience and an ability for enhanced communication with the team’s Latin players through his bilingual ability. He has been involved with competitive soccer since the age of 11 and continues to both coach and play at Madison United Soccer Club.
Originally born in Mexico City, the 36-year-old Ramirez came to the United States when he was five years old. The Madison and Middleton area has been home to him for most of his life. He feels that his background helps him communicate with the very diverse WolfPack team that features multiple foreign players.
“Our United teams, we’ve always been very diverse,” Ramirez said. “Sometimes we call ourselves the United Nations, just because of the fact that we have lots of people from different backgrounds and I think that’s great. I’m sure it helps.”
Helping with the diverse culture of WolfPack soccer is just one part of what Ramirez adds to the team. Ramirez uses his knowledge to impart skills training on his current players. He is a director for Coever Coaching, a renowned technical training method.
“I help obviously with the practices every day. I run one thing and coach Richardson runs the other side of things. It’s been working very well that way,” Ramirez said. “I’ve got a lot of experience. I hope that some of my experience and the skills I teach them, I hope they can go ahead and grasp it mentally, and then hopefully show a lot of that stuff in the games.”
Madison College has struggled to find the win column this season but Ramirez thinks that things are starting to come along. He feels the players are starting to show a big improvement in their skills. With the groundwork in place, Ramirez hopes the team can now put it all together for the rest of the season.
“I think there’s potential here for these kids. I just don’t think they’ve honed it yet to the point that they’re actually showing in the results. The results aren’t here at the moment. But I do think that if there’s any time to turn things around I think it’s now,” Ramirez said. “It starts mentally, then it starts technically. From the technical aspect you go to the tactical aspect, which is the game. I think they’re almost past the point where they’re past the skills into the tactical.”
Regardless of the current results, Ramirez feels very excited to be at Madison College.
This is a new challenge after coaching U11, Edgewood girls and competitive leagues in Verona.
“This is a different level for me, obviously, for coaching. I really like it. I like this level. I think I belong at this level. I just hopefully want to continue at this level,” Ramirez said.
The passion Ramirez has for the game is easily apparent. The fact that he is still a competitive player himself only adds to it. He has played almost every position, from forward to centerman.
“Centerman, I like to distribute and kind of run things. As a forward I like to finish and I’ve usually, historically, in the past, been pretty good at finishing.”
Ramirez admits that playing is still what he most enjoys when it comes to soccer. That doesn’t leave him even when he’s on the sidelines.
“Sometimes I wish I could be in the game out there. Help them out,” Ramirez said. He added that it’s a sure thing that he will continue to also be a player for as long as he can.