Kenzie Jones, Sports Editor, @KenzieScribbler
First published in print June 14, 2014
The soccer world is in a frenzy of excitement this summer with the World Cup taking place. After a year and a half of planning and building, there could be no better time to start a new men’s soccer program here at Utah Valley University.
UVU has had an exciting year for all its athletic programs with it being the inaugural one in the WAC. It only seems natural for the school to start the first and only NCAA Division 1 men’s soccer program in the state. This provides a new and unique opportunity for these male athletes, because they now have the opportunity to gain scholarship money as a student athlete.
It’s the opportunity to compete division 1 under new head coach Greg Maas who boasts a high-soccer-IQ and impressive reputation. Even with no competitive history to back the program, there has been no issue for Maas to fill his 32-player roster.
“I went out and got the best I could get,” Maas commented about his new team which consists of 16 local and 16 out of state players to represent UVU.
Maas’ strong team is already familiar with each other through playing on a team together, competing against each other, or just knowing each other’s reputations. It’s what happens in the small world of the soccer community.
Even though the program is in its infancy, the same is not true of the players.
“All the players look at coming to this program as an opportunity,” Maas explains. These athletes aren’t just transferring from junior colleges, there is a senior coming to play his last year in NCAA at UVU.
The coaching staff is confident in their players and their training environment, knowing that the team will be able to quickly adapt to anything that comes their way during this first year.
“We plan on taking it game by game, focusing on our competitor, and approaching every game honestly,” Coach Maas explained. He also stated that the coaching staff and all the players know the local community and the student body have high expectations but the team has even higher expectations for themselves. Men’s soccer has to go in and make a name for themselves, not only in the WAC but also amongst the other athletic programs that UVU offers.
Coach Maas knows that one way to make a name for a program is to create an environment that will make UVU one of the toughest fields for an away team to play at. For that to happen for men’s soccer, they need to feel the support of the fans. Coach Maas has implemented this policy for that to happen.
“No player will wear #12,” Maas said. “That number is reserved for our supporters, so they will always take the field with the team.”
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