Senior Alec Koski may have never played a game for Lehigh men’s soccer, but, as a student coach/manager, he was still able to leave his mark on the program.
Koski, a Bethlehem native, was not unfamiliar with the team when he came in as a freshman, as his dad has been the head coach of Lehigh for 29 seasons.
When Koski was a senior in high school, he was deciding between a few schools. He knew he couldn’t play soccer at Lehigh, but the education, career development and the closeness to home helped him make his decision to attend Lehigh.
Koski didn’t want to give soccer up completely. After speaking with his dad, they decided he would be a manager — someone who would attend practices and games to help out.
Koski said there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes, so it’s a thankless job, but he wouldn’t have traded his four years of being a part of the program for anything else.
“All those things that aren’t necessarily the most fun, kind of get made up for by going to places like Chicago and France, and meeting all the great guys on the team and all the athletes,” Koski said.
Koski said he doesn’t think about it often, but when he reflects on the Patriot League Championship, it was one of the most surreal moments of his life. He got to celebrate with his dad and his two brothers, who are also on the team.
“I ran out on the field, and everyone was celebrating,” Koski said. “All these people and all my friends that I’ve known for four years, they’re all hugging me, and everyone is so happy, and everyone was there for a shared cause.”
Koski said he helps the team with whatever needs to be done. Whether it’s pumping balls, filling water bottles or jumping in at practice when they need an extra player, doing the little things right is what he takes pride in.
For his first three years, he filmed the games. This year, though, he was able to be on the sidelines with the team and witness the incredible season they had.
“Alec (Koski) was always prepared and willing to help any way he could, with showing up early and getting equipment out onto the field,” said associate head coach Ryan Hess. “I think he has certainly earned a lot of respect from his teammates because of all the time, energy and effort that he put in behind the scenes, to make sure everything ran smoothly.”
Senior defender Zarin Tuten and the rest of the team appreciate all the work that Koski’s done.
They said Koski always brought a positive attitude to practices and games, and he was committed to working for and with the team.
“He would show up early, he’d pump balls, and (he would) help the freshmen out with their freshmen duties,” Tuten said. “Alec Koski is just an outstanding guy to have working behind the scenes.”
Tuten said as roommates, he had a lot of great moments with Koski, but a moment that stands out was during a game in his sophomore year when the team tied Colgate 4-4.
After not having a great performance as a defender, Tuten said Koski was there for him.
“I just had a really bad day,” Tuten said. “But I walked off the field, and I just remember Alec (Koski) walking up to me and putting his arm around me. I had my head in my hands because I was obviously really disappointed. He was there in my ear, giving me the talk to get my head up and that everybody has off days. We came back and had a great defensive performance for the next four or five games after that.”
Koski will be returning to Lehigh in the fall for graduate school and said he is unsure if he will still be helping out. However, he said he will definitely still be there to support his three brothers next year, as his other brother will be an incoming freshman on the team.