When you’re at a place like Maryland, women’s soccer Coach Jonathan Morgan likes to say, you run down the exhausting list of teams that have won national championships and you realize that it’s why you’re here. It’s the expectation, your overarching goal as a coach.
To the left of Morgan’s office in the Comcast Center are women’s lacrosse and field hockey. On the other side of the hallway is men’s lacrosse. Next to them sits Sasho Cirovski, coach of the No. 1-ranked men’s soccer team.
Morgan has been entrenched in the Maryland soccer community through the club ranks, and as an assistant on the women’s side. His Terps currently are ranked No. 7 heading into Sunday’s ACC tournament matchup as the second seed against Miami at Ludwig Field. The men’s side can clinch a regular season conference title against Clemson on Saturday at 7 p.m. Suffice to say, success is entrenched within the two programs.
Since he arrived, Cirovski has been an avid supporter of the women’s program. His wife, Shannon Higgins-Cirovski, coached the women from 1999 to 2005. He’s always seen a strong connection between the two sides, a mutually beneficial relationship of cooperation and appreciation.
“The two teams have become pretty close, some benefits where our kids come to their games, their kids come to ours, they’re able to support our group,” Morgan said. “There’s definitely some chemistry there. Some of the kids are pretty close, they’ll train during the summer months.”
Morgan has been around other programs, like Rutgers and Ohio State, where the programs either never developed such a connection, or outright hated each other, competing for practice time and space, rarely crossing paths. But for Morgan’s Terps, seeing the men succeed at such a high level breeds inspiration, and vice versa. It’s not uncommon for Morgan to walk out onto the practice field and see one of Cirvoski’s players helping one of Morgan’s on her striking and finishing at the net.
“The players are friendly with each other, always working in a cooperative way,” Cirovski said. “We sit and talk tactics sometimes. On all levels, there’s a very open communication lines, always there to try to help and support. I think it’s a very healthy and respectful relationship. They’re friends off the field, we’ll be practicing Sunday morning, make sure they’re done so they can get to the game. I’m sure it’s the same the other way around.”
Indeed, come to a women’s game and the stands will be littered with men’s soccer player, always in the exact same spot, always celebrating at every little move.
“It’s great,” Cirovski said. “It helps recruiting to be honest. Our guys all go to the games, that’s part of their enjoyment and part of their time here, to go out and see games. I think we inspire each other. There are times they’ll come to our games, see the certain effort, or vice versa, that’s inspirational.”