New men’s soccer coach is 'ready' for the challenge at AU

Zach Samol, former professional athlete and Georgetown assistant, was hired over winter break

New men’s soccer coach is 'ready' for the challenge at AU

Trey Echazarreta zips past West Virginia players during a 2017 game. 

After years of playing soccer professionally and assistant coaching at Georgetown, Zach Samol said he is “ready” to be the Eagles’ new men’s soccer head coach.

Samol, who was hired over winter break, replaced Todd West as the head coach of the men’s soccer team after the team fell to 4-9-5 overall and lost in overtime in the Patriot League quarterfinals. He has spent five years playing professionally, four years assisting at Yale and 13 years assisting at Georgetown. 

While he liked the program at Georgetown, Samol said he was prepared to take the next step in his career.

“I had been wanting to be a head coach for quite a while now,” Samol said. “For the last five to 10 years, I’ve been thinking about being a head coach and really feeling ready.”

Samol was not just interested in the position because it was a head coaching job – he believed that the team had a lot of potential. In addition, after getting a chance to learn about AU and see the campus, he realized that this was where he wanted to be.

“I think AU is a good fit for me at this point to make the jump,” Samol said. “I felt it’s a jump I can make and can have success as well.”

Samol is looking forward to “getting to know the team” and building relationships with the players. While it has only been a little over a month since he took the job, he said that it has already been “a lot of fun getting to know the players and getting to know their personalities.”

Samol is also ready to make some changes to the playing style of the team. He wants better ball control and a faster speed of play. He is looking for the team to play fast not just on-ball, but off-ball as well. However, his main focus is improving defense, Samol said.

“I think one of the main things is that we need to do better defensively, give up less goals,”  Samol said.

He is looking for defensive improvement – not just for individual players, but for the team as a whole. Samol added that the team needs to get better at recovering after turning the ball over. 

Samol’s goal is for the team to learn his style of play and slowly make these changes by the end of spring. He is less focused on immediate victories, but instead wants to put more attention towards the progression of the team, he said.

Since his hiring, Samol has spent much time recruiting and looking for players who are right for AU, which he said are the “simple” players rather than flashier ones. He also said that the team needs more leaders and good decision-makers.

“The team the last couple of years hasn’t won that many games,” Samol said. “The guys that are currently on the team want to change that, and I want to change that.”

jwise@theeagleonline.com 

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