In his first season as a starter, senior center back and captain Jonas Madison has helped the Loyola boys soccer team to a 2-0 start and zero goals against. An Evanston native and Haven Middle School product, Madison is much more than a standout on the soccer field. He also is a leader at the school. Madison’s twin brother, Curran, is a Loyola cheerleader.
MAROON & GOLD: Before I get into the questions I prepared, I saw a photo Saturday morning on the Loyola boys soccer Twitter account (@LoyolaBoysoccer) of the team doing something in a pool called a “regeneration session.” Can you explain what that is?
JONAS MADISON: For the last two years, [head coach Baer] Fisher has introduced two days a week of recovery. On Saturdays, we are in the pool, and on Mondays, we do yoga. It’s been a good way to minimize injuries and keep our team healthy. It’s something I look forward to after a game. Those days are for recovery and are meaningful to us in the long term.
M&G: Let’s stick with Fisher. He’s led the team to winning seasons in his two seasons, including last year’s 15-5-1 mark. Why has he been successful?
JM: He’s unique. He doesn’t care about your personal ability. For him, it’s all about the team concept. He doesn’t like a lot of dribbling. He wants swift possessions and wants the ball to move forward quickly. The way he structures our system is all about the team first. That mentality has allowed us to be successful. It’s rare to see a team communicate as well as we do.
M&G: Describe your role as a junior last season.
JM: I didn’t start, but I was the 11th field player. Although I did play a lot last season, It wasn’t until this year that I solidified myself as a starter. But that doesn’t mean the spot is mine for the whole season. Coach Fisher has a strict policy of making players work for their positions, and that goes for starters. You have to be the hardest worker to be a starter. I think that’s the best way to coach a team. The starters have to fight every day to keep their jobs. That creates a competitive environment that is beneficial to the team. It brings out the best in everybody.
M&G: As a center back, what is your responsibility?
JM: I’m someone who sees everything unfold. Everything is happening in front of me, so I have to be the one communicating to the rest of the team about what’s going on. If you can’t tell, my voice is gone from this week. I have to be highly vocal and physical. It’s on me to make stops. We are the last line of defense.
M&G: You’re one of three captains, along with senior Luke Phillips and junior Christian Jimenez. In what ways have the three of you brought the team closer together?
JM: First of all, it was an honor to be named captain. With great power comes great responsibility, and I hold myself to that, especially off the field. We’ve held weekly team events, such as team dinners. After our Maroon & Gold game, we all went to Buffalo Joe’s [in Evanston] to eat and then we walked around an arts festival. That might seem like a strange thing to do, but it was about us being with one another and hanging out. Those kinds of things build our camaraderie. We also have underclassmen get rides with upperclassmen. We want everybody to know each other and respect each other. It will make us a stronger team.
M&G: You participated in a first-year initiative spearheaded by athletic director Pat Mahoney and assistant principal Charlie Heintz that consisted of juniors and seniors cultivating relationships with freshmen and helping them assimilate to their new surroundings. Why is doing something like that important to you?
JM: I remember my freshman year at Loyola when I knew four people coming into high school. Even though I went to a big middle school, Loyola seemed huge. I wanted to help the freshmen feel part of the community from the start, to make Loyola feel inclusive. I’ve had freshmen already tell me about the new people they met during those first three days. Leaving a legacy and a lasting impact at Loyola is important to me. I was excited about this program, and I was happy to help.
M&G: What are your college plans? Have you narrowed down a list of places you want to go?
JM: I love [Washington] D.C. I visited George Washington, American and Georgetown this summer. Georgetown is my first choice. But I’m also working on my Naval Academy application. I come from a family of midshipmen. That would be my attempt to keep alive that tradition.