Louisville Cardinal soccer coach John Michael Hayden

Hayden believes the season will start as scheduled. In the meantime, he's been using technology to connect with his players and recruits.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – University of Louisville men's soccer coach John Michael Hayden enters his second year at the helm in some extraordinary circumstances, much like other coaches across the country dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The times are different," Hayden said. "We’re communicating differently, but we’re all finding ways to persevere." 

Eight players are on campus now, although Hayden is unable to have contact with them directly. Another wave of players will return to campus in early July, and a final wave will arrive in late July.

Hayden has been using Zoom and Microsoft Teams to converse with his players during the off time and recruit more players for the upcoming season. In other times, he would seek out players. These days, thanks to the internet, he has players virtually coming to him.

"My inbox has never been fuller," Hayden said. "Part of that is the kids themselves can’t get out, either. So there’s no youth soccer happening. You put yourself in the shoes of a junior right now, who is really thinking about what that next step is. He can’t market himself in a way by being on the field. So the only means that he has is to email, hopefully he has some video and, through that process, now he is marketable."

Technology has also helped Hayden add to his knowledge and build on his inaugural season with the Cardinals.

"I’ve been able to observe some Zoom calls and presentations, read different things and grow myself," he said. "I think that’ll help me construct the environment that I want to create for the program itself that’ll help us win a national championship."

The 2020 season should start as scheduled with exhibitions in August, Hayden said, including one scheduled against new Division I member Bellarmine.

"There's been discussions and there's been a lot of stuff in the media about, 'Will we kick off? Will this happen? Will this not?' and everything at this point is pointing to the fact that it will," he said. 

Hayden enters 2020 coming off some signature wins last season. He and the Cards will aim to return to the NCAA Tournament for the 13th time in the past 14 seasons.

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