The last time Mark Krikorian was on campus at Villanova University, he was coaching the Philadelphia Charge in their third and final season at Villanova Stadium.
“My wife and I really loved the area, loved living a mile away from the campus and really enjoyed our time with the Charge,” Krikorian said. “For me it’s been a lot of years since I’ve been back, I’m looking forward to seeing how the community has grown.”
His visit Sunday will be with the defending national champion Florida Seminoles for a 1 p.m. game against Villanova at Higgins Soccer Complex, where the Women’s United Soccer Association team he coached for three seasons trained.
“Where we are playing the game on Sunday is the same general area where we trained every day on what used to be grass fields then,” he said. “It will be nice to drive back in and see those same dorms I thought were beautiful back then and will still appreciate now and check out whatever other growth and development’s gone on in and around the campus.”
The Charge folded after three seasons when the WUSA suspended operations shortly after the completion of the 2003 season. The Philadelphia Independence played in the Women’s Professional League in 2011 and 2012 but there hasn’t been a pro women’s team since.
“Philly was a great place to be in the WUSA, we had very, very good crowds and the community embraced the team,” Krikorian said. “My hope and goal even here as a college coach is seeing the professional game continue to expand and I think it would be great if they could add the Philadelphia market back into the NWSL.”
After the WUSA folded, Krikorian went on to coach the United States Women’s U19 National Team before taking the job at Florida State in 2005. Since arriving in Tallahassee, he’s taken Seminole teams to nine College Cups in 14 seasons, winning it all in 2014 and again last December.
This year’s Seminoles team comes into Sunday’s game riding a three-game winning streak after two straight losses on a West Coast string against No. 4 UCLA and No. 5 USC in back-to-back games and boast a 5-2-0 record and a No. 6 national ranking.
Nova, meanwhile, is on a two-game win streak after their own difficult West Coast trip where they lost back-to-back games to Oregon and Oregon State. They have a 3-2-1 record overall.
“I know they’ve done a really good job building the program and they play good soccer and we’re excited to come up and play,” Krikorian said.
This will be the first meeting between the two programs, but the second time a Wildcats team is hosting a reigning national champion. The last time that happened was when they welcomed George Mason in 1986.