Chris Conran, Sports Writer, @chrisconran
First appears in print on September 18, 2014.
Men’s soccer might have been the most hyped-up sport to ever hit UVU. From posters around the school, billboards along I-15 and even a commercial during the World Cup, everyone had their eye on the only Division I soccer team in Utah. And they did everything but disappoint.
In front of a standing-room only crowd of over 2,600 fans, UVU handled UMass like a walk in the park. The 5-1 dominating victory in the Wolverines’ inaugural match made them look like they were seasoned vets who controlled the entire game. It was a unique example of a team so perfectly meshed together to the point where not one player has to be heavily relied upon.
It’s not everyday that you see five goals all scored by five different players. Head coach Greg Maas said the “hard work and focus” of the players and staff played a big role in the one-sided win. Maas added he’s grateful the program “had a year to get most players ready and acclimated, not only on the field, but in the classroom as well, which set the culture, personality and expectations for the team leading forward.”
“Everything came together quicker than expected and this speaks volumes of the quality of players both on and off the field,” Maas said. He was able to get 21 total players out on to the field during the blowout. There’s likely no better way to build a program than to give as many guys as possible the experience they’ll need in the long run.
Support from the fans and school was surreal for the coaches and players. As Maas pointed out, “the support from the administration, family, friends and the student body was nothing short of amazing.”
Fans poured in throughout the first half, adding to an already electric atmosphere. The Green Man Crew was out drumming along, and the student section sported 12th Wolverine flags and cheered all game long. Maas purposely left No. 12 off the roster for this purpose, as he hopes the 12th Wolverine can continue on with other school athletics as well.
Soccer had another home match against Gonzaga Sept. 12. Maas and the team are hopeful the crowds at home fixtures can be even better than the one against UMass to push attendance over the 3,000 mark.
Who knows, this team might even force the university into building a bigger stadium to house their fans, which is more than deserved because this team lived up to the hype and then some.
The program showed it’s something for the university to be proud of, and something that we as students should call our own. As a student body interested in the growth of our school, excitement excited should abound for the men’s soccer team. History was witnessed, and those who weren’t there to #witnesshistory, will want to get out to Clyde Field at the next possible chance.