Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Recapping Forward Madison’s Signing Day Announcements

On a day when there were no World Cup matches, USL League One decided to take advantage. Forward Madison spent the day announcing seven signings to their 2023 roster as part of the league’s “League One, Day one” initiative. This included a mixture of returning players from the 2022 squad, and new players as well. The players announced the following:

The League One, Day One signings

That is quite a group of signings and here are the initial thoughts on the League One, Day One news

A Signal of Intent

Forward Madison is aiming high with these signings. Bartman, Gebhard and Osmond highlighted some of the bright spots from a disappointing 2022 season, and to keep that talent and leadership is exactly what Madison needed. Payne wanted to be on the winning side of the Henny Derby in 2022, but his play at right back for the League One regular season champions gives Madison a two-way threat on the right side of the defense. Chaney and Crull were eye-opening moves. Crull was consistently in the lineup for the 2021 Omaha team that won the USL1 title and he gained additional League One experience with FC Tucson. Chaney was impressive on an otherwise underwhelming Fuego squad in 2022. The striker finished top ten in the league for goals + assists and the hope is he will be the striker Madison has desperately needed since its inception. Captain Osmond said there was unfinished business, and this “core” of players show that Madison is aiming for that path.

Experience Matters

The interesting part of USL1 is you get a blend of different player types. Some players are young and looking to advance their career to the highest level, while others were previously at the top and potentially have to drop down a level due to circumstances or aging legs. Others simply see this as the best option to get meaningful playing time and a solid salary. Today’s announced group of signings all have experience in American soccer and at the professional level overall. The average age being 27 with Bartman at age 29, the eldest, with Payne and Crull the youngest at 25. All these players have experience playing in USL League One, and while I’m sure it was intentional to have players that understand the expectations and talent level of the league, they all are also close to or entering their prime.

Potential Formation Change?

With the seven players, we saw four defenders and three attackers signed to the team. Last season, Glaeser played primarily with a 3-4-3 / 3-4-1-2 formation much to the annoyance of this writer. There is the possibility that this formation reappears in 2023. The other way to look at it is the signings would create a 4-3-3 style. Bartman, Chaney and Gebhard would make up the attack and Crull would be slotted in the left back position. Osmond and fellow new signing Timmy Mehl would form a center back partnership while Payne fills in the right back position. We still have to see what midfield options come in and how the rest of the roster shapes up; but maybe the back three will finally be yeeted into the sun.

Manifesting this for 2023

Put Up or Shut Up for Coach Glaeser

After his first season with the team, Matt Glaeser mentioned on Talkin’ Flock that some players didn’t align with the club’s core principles and values, and they did a poor job of it. This created two main discussion points on social media:

  1. MG is the Head Coach and Technical Director, and it’s his job to find and bring players in
  2. A number of players were signed to Madison before he was announced head coach, so it’s possible they didn’t meet his standards

This will be the year for him to prove that his assertions were correct as he has the full control of who he wants and given the experience and pedigree previously mentioned, Madison has to be better than their 9th place showing last season. It’s always good to hope for a championship but he is going to need to make the playoffs if he wants to remain Head Coach on the isthmus. 

Overall, the League One, Day One event was a great idea and should be something the league and club repeat for years to come. It gave fans a glimpse into what to expect for the team and drew excitement as we head into the new season. Forward Madison left a strong impression that 2023 needs to be the year things turn the corner. There will be more new signings and returning player announcements in the next few days, and we’ll be sure to be on the lookout and will provide more reactions.


  • Kyle Carr

    Capo, light gamer, podcaster and super amateur baker. All that plus some other stuff


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