In the world of NCAA college soccer, there are few names as recognizable as Jay Vidovich.
The head coach at powerhouse Wake Forest for 16 years, Vidovich has led the Demon Deacons to eight consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament and was at the helm for the program’s first national title in 2007.
On Wednesday, he was on hand at the Home Depot Center to check in with Wake Forest alum Michael Lahoud and to observe Chivas USA’s morning training session.
“Having him here is special,” said Lahoud. “He is definitely a mentor and a friend; we have a pretty close relationship. I have the utmost respect for him.”
A four-time ACC Coach of the Year, Vidovich was named National Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) in both 2007 and 2008.
James Riley (Seattle), William Hesmer (Columbus), Sam Cronin (Toronto), Zack Schilawski (New England), and Pat Phelan (New England) are all former Demon Deacons who made the jump from the NCAA to the professional level.
“We’ve been fortunate to get quality players who are ambitious in their game and in what they want to accomplish,” Vidovich said of his program’s success. “We’re just trying to be as professional as possible and take their development very seriously.”
Vidovich enjoyed a special treat last Saturday when he attended Chivas USA’s match against San Jose. The game allowed him to see three Wake Forest alumni in one evening, as Lahoud battled the Quakes’ Ike Opara and Scott Sealy at the Home Depot Center.
“It’s nice to see your boys,” Vidovich said of the match. “It makes it fun because you can see the result of your work. You see that they develop and are ready to take the next step in their career. It’s exciting.”
Lahoud enjoyed immense success at Wake Forest. In 95 total games, he scored 14 goals and notched 20 assists, and helped the team to the NCAA title in 2007, and final four appearances in 2006 and 2008.
He was selected 9th overall in the 2009 MLS Super Draft and has since made 21 appearances for the Red-and-White.
“The biggest thing is that from day one, he instills in you a professional attitude,” Lahoud said of Vidovich. “He molds you into a pro and he holds you to those standards from day one. It was awesome playing for him.”