Zach Trujillo | Sports Writer | @zachmtrujillo
First appearing in print on October 13, 2014.
Something special and unique is happening at Utah Valley University this year and it comes in the form of crazed fans, a loveable coach and a very talented soccer team.
UVU’s Clyde field is the nation’s No. 1 venue in collegiate soccer in terms of attendance and the amount of actual available seating, with more than 2,700 average fans attending each home game – almost three times its capacity.
That’s right, in accordance with the size of Clyde Field men’s soccer home games have more attendees than any other Division I school in the country. UVU is also ninth in overall attendance. Now that’s something the community and student body haven’t seen at UVU.
It has not taken long for the team, still undefeated in Orem as of Oct. 10, to draw fans from almost everywhere in the state.
The soccer craze in Utah Valley started, however, long before the season. Coach Greg Maas, UVU athletic marketing, and the players participated in publicity during the summer.
Their efforts included a soccer commercial that aired during the World Cup in June.
Coaches and players were, at first, surprised by the attendance numbers, but not so much by their success and support.
“Our 12th Wolverines are the culmination of a lot of hard work by UVU marketing and athletics. Utah is a very passionate and knowledgeable soccer market, and I know the 12th Wolverines appreciate our style, quality and intensity we bring to each match,” Maas said. “From inception, our goal was to establish Clyde Field as one of the most difficult soccer environments for opponents in collegiate soccer. We’re doing that, and I’m just thankful the 12th Wolverines are on our side.”
The players have also sensed the home-field advantage in their first season of men’s collegiate soccer at UVU.
“Every game, our fans have been right behind us,” midfielder Lucas Cawley told the media recently. “It’s really something being in a first-year program and being pioneers for college soccer in Utah.”
Not only are UVU students, coaches, and alumni impressed by the success and record attendance, but Kyle Beckerman of MLS side Real Salt Lake and a member of the U.S. men’s national team, recently visited campus and told the student body of his impression.
“I am now a Wolverine fan,” said Beckerman. “I will be checking your scores regularly.”
The hype of a Utah university offering a DI soccer program is reaching all levels of fans. From the Kyle Beckerman’s, to the local developmental soccer teams that wear their jerseys to Clyde Field to enjoy a night of thrilling soccer.
There are still two opportunities for fans to see UVU welcome the masses at home games. The Wolverines host Incarnate Word Oct. 31 at 4 p.m. and Houston Baptist Nov. 2 at 1 p.m.
UVU invited its most-recent ranked opponent to Clyde Field Oct. 4. The match ended in a 1-1 tie after two overtimes with conference foe and No. 24 Seattle U.