20 Oct Riddiough sets standard of excellence for women’s soccer — The Hofstra Chronicle
On Sunday, Oct. 10, the Hofstra women’s soccer team defeated UNC-Wilmington 2-1 in double overtime. The win was big, not only because the Pride had just taken down its biggest threat in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) on the road, but also because the victory was the 200th of head coach Simon Riddiough’s career. Those victories didn’t come easy, and wouldn’t have come at all without a strong culture; a culture that started with Riddiough’s mentor and former women’s soccer head coach JoAnne Russell.
“I think he had a really good example from Russell,” said Luisa Echeverry, who played at Hofstra from 2011-2014. “She is an amazing person and she ran an amazing program. Being under her for so many years, I think that’s where Simon gets so much of his coaching knowledge.”
“I learned all the administrative stuff from coach Russell,” Riddiough said. “How to run and build a program, and how to recruit. All the stuff you need in order to be a successful coach.”
With years of fine tuning, Riddiough has taken that program and transformed it into his own: a program so effective that it has led to Hofstra women’s soccer consistently fielding one the best teams in the country.
“Excellence is the standard with coach Riddiough,” said Salma Tarik, a former player of Riddiough’s from 2008-2010. “He never takes a day off, mentally or physically. He comes so well prepared that we felt, as players, that if we ever lost a game, it was on us because we knew he put in so much preparation.”
Riddiough’s coaching abilities don’t just pertain to drawing up formations. His ability to get his team to work as a unit is where he truly makes his mark.
“When you play for Hofstra, there’s a very specific style,” said Sam Scolarici, who suited up for the Pride from 2011-2014. “It’s very quick, very effective and very fast. But it also requires every player to play both offense and defense. As a unit, not only attacking together, but defending together, is just as important.”
However, a group of players cannot automatically function as a team, which is why Riddiough places emphasis on getting his players to bond off the field.
“He takes the time to set the tone for the team during preseason, when things can get really tense,” Echeverry said. “He would make sure we get time to relax and get to know one another. For one of our training sessions, he set up a campus-wide scavenger hunt. Practice was more than just kicking a soccer ball around on a grass field.”
Results on the field aside, the most important aspect of coaching for Riddiough is connecting with his players, which has allowed him to create relationships with his players that carry on even after they leave Hofstra.
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