While fully focused on preparing for the season opener for Saint Joseph’s women’s soccer on Saturday, associate head coach Fred King’s weekend plans took an unexpected turn when he was asked to coach the men’s team for their season opener at St. John’s.
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind,” King said Tuesday after coaching the men to a narrow 1-0 defeat against the Red Storm in Queens.
King got the call last week asking him to cover for the men’s team after their coaching staff went into quarantine for exposure to Covid-19. The game was initially scheduled for Saturday night but was moved to Monday so a day after the women won their season opener 4-1 over Delaware State, he was on the sidelines for the men’s team taking over for veteran head coach Don D’Ambra.
“I talked to (D’Ambra) and he gave me the rundown on how he had set up all the tactics that they’ve been working on so he filled me in on what they’ve been training and how they’ve been trying to set up the team to have their best chances in the season,” King said. “I just tried to carry that on as we moved through training and into the game.”
The Hawks — playing their first competitive match since a 1-0 loss at UMass on Nov. 2, 2019 — had a good showing in Queens against the 2019 Big East runner ups but were unable to find a response to a goal in the 64th minute. Newcomer Luis Ludosan, a former Union Berlin youth keeper, had an impressive debut with five saves on the day and senior Alvin Dahn nearly connected on a would be go ahead goal in the first half goal that rattled the post. They recorded five shots on the day.
“We had good patches of playing, really good possession and outworking St. John’s,” King said. “Don’s added some really good players on that team, a lot of good senior leadership and some good young guys coming in.”
In addition to Ludosan, newcomer Nemo Phillip, who is also from Germany, got the start and showed well in the midfield.
King, who is in his ninth season coaching at Saint Joseph’s, last coached a men’s team when he was a volunteer assistant at Harvard in 2007.
“It’s been a long time since my Harvard days but it was a lot of fun to be back out working with the guys and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s session,” King said on Tuesday.
King was in line to coach another game for the men’s team — Thursday’s home opener against Drexel — but the game has already been postponed because of forecasted snow. Their next game won’t be until February 27 now at home against Drexel.
“I was happy to do it,” King said of the experience. “And I know they would do the same for us.”