Preseason Interview: Coach Jay Vidovich

Earlier this week, DeaconSports was able to catch-up with Demon Deacon head soccer coach Jay Vidovich. The coach of Wake Forest's 2007 national champion soccer team, Vidovich discussed his outlook on the coming soccer season for his Wake Forest team.

Playing in the ACC makes it imperative for Jay to continue to recruit some of the top players in the country to come and continue the success he has developed at Wake Forest. Now in his 17th season at Wake Forest, Coach Vidovich describes his view of this current team as "cautiously optimistic."

Bringing in ten freshmen along with nine sophomores means that this team will be both young and inexperienced at the college level. According to Vidovich, however, he feels the best word to describe this teams style of play would be balanced. "For us, it may take us a while to get our attacking abilities and scheme into place and may take us a while to get goals," he said. "Hopefully as we play more together it will help us as the season goes on to get the goals."

Vidovich mentioned that Wake has been steady defensively for the last several years and have been one of the leaders in shutout ratios in the country despite also leading the country in goals scored for four years.

When asked how chemistry was developing after practicing for a while now, he indicated it was going to be a developing situation because of the lack of familiarity all of the young players have with each other. "This team is pretty tight already and the dynamics will change when they start going up against the competition we are going to be playing," he said. With the late addition of Andy Lubahn to last year's recruiting class and how great he played, we asked if he had a similar type impact player coming in this season.

"We are hoping, to be honest with you, that we will have about five guys coming in that can do that. Tolani Ibikunle, Chris Duvall, and Luca Giminez are among those who we hope can be impact players right away as well as some sophomores we have coming back."

Vidovich also mentioned that speed was very important in soccer but that there were different type of speed. "You have physical speed, tactical speed and on the ball speed. If pure speed was all it took, Usain Bolt would be the best soccer player in the world but there is a lot more to it than the season goes along, we will play faster and faster and I think we will be alright there."

Vidovich also discussed the fans who come to games and how important to the team's success they are. "We are very fortunate, here we are with the smallest Division 1-A school in the country but are in the top 5 in terms of attendance. The student body, local fans and other supporters make it a great atmosphere. I can tell you other teams want to come here to experience it. For instance, Akron is coming in and they didn't want a Sunday game but wanted an evening game so their kids could experience the incredible environment here."

While this could end up being a team that takes a little while to develop, you get the distinct feeling from Coach Vidovich that he is excited about seeing them learn to play as a team and use the considerable talent they possess. As Coach Vidovich noted, Deacon fans may initially see a team that starts out with some missteps but that will certainly be a force to reckon with as the season progresses towards the ACC season and on into the qualifying process for the NCAA tournament and eventual College Cup.

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