MARBLEHEAD — When a team faces a coaching change, an adjustment period is always expected. A new head coach means a new style of play and players will usually find themselves dealing with a learning curve in getting accustomed to the changes.
But if there’s any team that can take on a coaching change and keep the ball rolling, it’s the senior-led Marblehead girls soccer team. Marblehead appointed Annie Madden as its new head coach in August but with 13 seniors on her roster, the transition has been a smooth one.
“I’m really excited about the upcoming season,” Madden, who also coaches the school’s girls lacrosse team, said. “We have 13 seniors who’ve really taken charge and are ready to work and ready to put the effort to have a great season. They’re leading the way.”
Madden said she’s happy with the way things have gone during the preseason. Building trust between teammates is one of the areas the Magicians have focused on in the early going.
“We’re taking what we had from last year and trying to build the culture,” Madden said. “We’re really making sure that when they step on the field they trust each other and know what to expect from each other on a daily basis.”
The Magicians will be led by three senior captains this fall in midfielder Meeghan Cronin and Lily Gregory and forward Grace Arthur. Madden applauded her three captains for showing solid leadership through the coaching change.
“They’ve really stepped up,” Madden said. “They’ve made it a great transition for myself and assistant coach Jaimee Callahan to be able to jump right in and implement new things, try new things, find our strengths as a team. They’re incredible leaders.”
Madden pointed to speed and versatility as the Magicians’ two main strengths.
“We have 23 players who are all capable of playing multiple positions,” Madden said. “They’re willing to put themselves out there to make sure our team is in a position to win.”
With a senior-heavy roster, experience will also work in Marblehead’s favor. The 13 senior Magicians have a clear understanding of where the team hopes to be at the end of the regular season.
“The level of competition on the field has increased,” Madden said. “We set our team goals and expectations. We know what we’re looking to do this season. We’re hoping this team will be competitive, successful and make it to the state tournament.”
Although she hasn’t coached soccer in the Northeastern Conference, Madden knows the competition will be tough. With a handful of tournament mainstays in the NEC, entering each game well prepared becomes all the more important.
“Danvers is really talented, Peabody’s really talented,” Madden said. “Swampscott has talent. Beverly’s a good team. We’re looking to make sure we’re competitive against these teams and prepared for each game. The whole NEC is very talented in the soccer community.”
Marblehead opens the season with a conference game on the road Thursday afternoon (4) at Beverly.
“They’re very excited,” Madden said. “There’s a great vibe happening throughout the team. The girls are excited to take on the next challenge.”