‘Dynamic Duo’ looks to take over C-USA soccer


Junior JJ Williams (7) opens his arms in celebration after scoring a goal while sophomore Kalil Elmedkhar (21) jumps on his back. University of Kentucky No. 4 men’s soccer team defeated No. 2 Indiana University 3-0 to remain undefeated on the season on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Mohammad Ahmad

CHARLOTTE, N.C.— Back on Sept. 26, the UK men’s soccer team defeated Eastern Tennessee State University at The Bell 3-0. Two of those goals were scored by J.J. Williams and one was scored by Kalil Elmedkhar. Elmedkhar assisted Williams’ goals and Williams assisted Elmedkhar’s.

After that game, Williams told the media that “our [his and Elmedkhar’s] chemistry was brewing from last year.”

Flashing forward to UK’s 2-1 C-USA tournament semifinal victory over Marshall University Friday night, the scoring efforts in that game echoed the ETSU victory. Williams assisted Elmedkhar and vice versa.

How does Williams describe his relationship with Elmedkhar? According to Elmedkhar, Williams calls it the “dynamic duo.”

“Like J.J. always says, ‘dynamic duo’,” Elmedkhar said. “It’s something we’ve been working on since fall of last year and last spring.”

That “dynamic duo” has helped UK become the No. 1 seed in the C-USA Tournament. Williams was the C-USA Conference Player of the Year and Offensive MVP with a conference-leading 15 goals this year. His teammate Elmedkhar leads UK in assists with nine and ranks seconds in goals scored with nine as well.

UK assistant head coach Chase Wileman said he agrees that the duo has been significant.

“First and foremost, they [Elmedkhar and Williams] are really good players and they’re doing really well,” Wileman said. “I think they are just being patient with the process and that’s why they’re having a really good year.”

Wileman also said that he foreshadowed the potential chemistry between the two before they even stepped foot in Lexington.

“They’re just two really good players. We knew that from when they were in high school when we were recruiting them,” Wileman said.

All but three games this year have featured either Williams, Elmedkhar or both scoring. UK is 14-0 in those games. Elmedkhar has scored five of his nine goals this year in the first 15 minutes of regulation, including his goal in the eighth minute Friday night. Williams has scored two goals in the first 15 minutes of regulation this season.

“Me and J.J. are the ones who take it upon ourselves to get the goals and get the momentum going,” Elmedkhar said. “Emphasizing the first 15 [minutes] and our chemistry and working off of each other and getting momentum going is important.”

Communication off the field has helped the dynamic duo establish rapport and strengthen its existing chemistry. Elmedkhar said that he and Williams aren’t afraid to discuss mistakes.

“J.J. got mad about one play in the game. So we talked it over,” Elmedkhar said. “We were looking out and talking it through. We’re always learning.”

With the team’s first-ever C-USA tournament championship on the line, Elmedkhar said that their opponent needs to be ready for the “dynamic duo” on Sunday.

“Whoever we’re playing on Sunday should be worried about us,” Elmedkhar said.