By Chris Goldberg, Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 9/21/21
Former Upper Merion standout Mikey Zadroga was approved as the head boys’ lacrosse coach at Owen J. Roberts Monday night at an OJR school board meeting.
Zadroga served as an assistant coach at Upper Merion in 2020 after graduating from Division I Marquette the previous year. He also was a part-time volunteer assistant at Upper Merion this spring.
Zadroga, a 2014 Upper Merion graduate, played in parts of two seasons at Marquette, where he lost two years due to injuries to his hip and core.
Zadroga admitted his experience as a coach is limited, but felt his experiences under Upper Merion coach Brady McCormick as a player and an assistant coach and as a player at Marquette under coach Joe Amplo have prepared him to lead scholastic players.
“I don’t have the experience I guess you would think a head coach of a program especially known to be very competitive would have,” said Zadroga. “But I give (all the credit) to coach Amplo; what he taught me in five years as far as culture and values.
“He instilled in me and understanding of the game and the lacrosse IQ necessary to be successful.”
The Wildcats went 5-7 last year under Nick Mitchell and have long been a Pioneer Athletic Conference contender. OJR reached the league final 11 straight years from 2007-17 and won the championship from 2008-10.
Zadroga, a midfielder, also believes his experience at the Division I level will help him relate to young players. “My time at Marquette taught me to have a growth mindset, to never stop learning and asking and most importantly to love boldly,” he said.
“I believe being a younger coach will allow me to foster great relationships with my players – which Coach Amplo taught me is the key to building great team culture.
“I don’t know everything, so I have a lot of room to grow. I will learn from the players as they learn from me. Coaching a high school team is a journey and a great opportunity.”
Zadroga also preaches fitness and is confident his team will be in great shape. He has overcome injuries and is confident his team will match up physically and mentally.
“Everything was built on love at Marquette. Our motto was, ‘To love boldly and aim to leave a lasting legacy.’ And now I am bringing the same to OJR.”
Zadroga was a four-year letterwinner at Upper Merion and captained the Vikings during his junior and senior years, where they qualified for the District 1 playoff. He collected 195 career points, including 143 goals and was a First-Team Suburban One American Conference Midfielder from 2012-2014 and Second-Team All-Phillylacrosse pick in 2014. He played club with the Duke’s LC and also played football at Upper Merion.