Collegian Q&A: K-State women’s soccer head coach Mike Dibbini

K-State women's soccer coach Mike Dibbini speaks to students during the Week of Welcome pep rally at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Aug. 23, 2015. (George Walker | The Collegian)

On a sweltering summer Saturday, Kansas State women’s soccer coach Mike Dibbini and his team had their first meeting with the local media at K-State soccer media day. I had a chance to talk with Dibbini about his first 20 months on the job, who he’s pick for his starting line up and what to expect from his Wildcats this season.

Andrew Hammond: It’s been a whirlwind for you the past few months hasn’t it?

Mike Dibbini: Yes, yes it has. It’s been a lot of grinding, lot of work-but there’s been a lot of support. It’s come a long way in 20 months, from day one from where we started to now I feel very positive in the direction we’re heading.

AH: In just a few words, from being named the head coach to here now at media day, has it sunk in that this is your team and this is your program?

MD: It has, I think when it really sunk in the most is when we took the field for our exhibition game at Arkansas and we actually stepped on the field. I got that butterfly feeling back that I hadn’t had in the last 20 months as a coach. You know I always say, when I don’t have those butterflies anymore then something’s wrong. I think that’s when it sunk in the most, you know we were working so hard-the coaching staff and putting the roster together and getting ready. It finally sunk in once I stepped on that field for warmups and I was like OK, this is it.

AH: Do you feel like you offer something different being a new program in the state of Kansas?

MD: Being a new program, it kinda opens up another opportunity for those that compete for the one school in the state of Kansas and now they have another opportunity to compete with another one. It basically opens their eyes to you know what, hey I may have a K-State tradition and I have a K-State background and now I have an opportunity and I can set my goals and aspirations to be in a K-State uniform.

AH: What’s the pitch to a prospective recruit from say, Southern California on coming here to play soccer at K-State.

MD: The pitch is that it’s in the Big 12, it’s a “power five” so there’s not many of those across the country for an opportunity. The Southern California area is so saturated with talent and there’s so many of them that they can’t have them all. It also helps that I’m from the area and one of my assistants is from that area so people know me very, very well so having those things on my side helps when you at least get them to come visit. If I get nine out of ten to come from Southern California and coming out to visit Manhattan, KS and see the facilities, seeing the campus and the Manhattan community, nine out of ten are ready to commit.

AH: If you were to build a soccer team using the best men and women in the world, who would you use?

MD: Games are obviously won defensively but games are also won by scoring goals so I’m taking Messi and Ronaldo, those are two right away. If I could bring players out of retirement then Zedine is one of the top players that I would put in that mix. There’s a good hand full of players from the Brazilian side and the Spaniard side but if I had to pick players to start a team it would be those guys.

K-State officially begins it’s inaugural season at St. Louis this Friday at 7 p.m. after shutting out Washburn 5-0 in a home scrimmage on Tuesday. They play their first official home game versus Northern Iowa on Sept. 16.