By no means was it an easy decision.
For the past three seasons, David Jones was property of the men’s soccer team, serving as an assistant coach.
But when Jones caught wind of women’s soccer coach Seamus McWilliams’ resignation on Sept. 10, he couldn’t help but think which direction the program was headed.
So Jones phoned an assistant athletics director to get the scoop on the coaching vacancy and two days later was named the interim head coach of the women’s soccer team.
Gone are the days Jones spent bonding and teaching players on the men’s team, as are his days as coach of North Penn High School’s girls soccer team.
Now there’s a new challenge on the table for Jones, and he sees it as a win-win situation.
“I think it was a situation where I didn’t have anything to lose or the girls didn’t have anything to lose,” he said. “All we could do was succeed. We couldn’t do any worse than we did in the past.”
The team has yet to disappoint.
Jones only had two days to get the team ready for its game against St. Francis on Sept. 11. In the end, Temple notched its first win of the season with a 2-1 victory over the Red Flash.
Jones knew what his approach to his new team was going to be once he took the job: have a disciplined defense and get them to play simple soccer.
He wasn’t sure what they had done in the past and he wasn’t about to make any drastic changes.
“I told them everyone has a chance to start fresh and prove to me they can make this team successful,” Jones said.
The opportunity for a fresh start came as a relief to most of the team, especially since only two players, sophomore Courtney Fritz and junior Courtney Eaton, knew who Jones was from having him as a high school coach at North Penn.
The team has only two seniors on the roster and a handful of young talent, not to mention some position shuffling, so Jones’ easy-going approach was just what the team needed.
But the team doesn’t take him as a pushover; Jones knows exactly what he wants from his squad.
“We’re going to miss Seamus (McWilliams) but this guy is really enthusiastic about this program,” said junior midfielder Christine McInaw. “He’s really good at getting us in shape and is real serious about practice.”
In practices, Jones is focusing on basic touches, runs off the ball and the small-sided game.
Jones also has no intention of changing the team’s 4-4-2 alignment, which he feels suits the team better, especially from the tactics learned in practice.
The toughest part about being the new guy in charge is not having a preseason and not having a basic knowledge of Temple’s opponents.
Still, Jones feels the team is taking a turn for the better.
“Each day with them I feel more comfortable and I get to know them better and hopefully we can move in the right direction,” Jones said. “I’m very surprised at how eager they are to succeed and make things happen.”
Chris Silva can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.