Support Irvine Soccer: Revive Your World Cup Passion for UCI

Soccer took hold of American television sets this past summer. The conclusion of the National Basketball Association, the middle of the Major League Baseball season and the anticipation of the National Football League were put aside as the 2010 World Cup took center stage.

From June 11 to July 11, some hardcore fans devoted early mornings and early afternoons to watch every minute of World Cup soccer. And even if you did not watch the opening game, the championship match and every contest in between, it was hard not to catch at least a game or two.

Although professional soccer has struggled to take hold in America, I paid close attention to the World Cup. I woke up at 7 a.m. to watch Mexico and South Africa. I was distraught when the Netherlands defeated Brazil. I was angry with myself for missing the controversy between Uruguay and Ghana. And my jaw was left wide open every time Diego Forlán took a free kick, especially when he was just inches away from tying the consolation game against Germany.

During the World Cup, passions ran deep, as many cheered for the United States and were left in jubilation when Landon Donavon scored the game-winning goal against Algeria.

For all you Anteaters who breathed and lived soccer over the summer and for those who know nothing about soccer or sports but still devoted time to watch the World Cup, let’s revive that passion for the sport. Channel it to UC Irvine’s soccer teams.

Now is the best time to hop on the bandwagon, as both men and women’s soccer have been dominating the competition.

The men are off to an impressive 10-1-2 record, with nine of their ten victories being shutouts. Equally as impressive has been the women’s soccer team, as they boast a remarkable 13-1-2 record.

These stellar records alone should entice any avid sports fan to attend soccer matches.
But for those of you who say there is not enough scoring in soccer or the sport is not exciting enough, well, look again.

In 13 games, the men’s soccer team has amassed 30 goals, which is just shy of three goals a game. This season, the men have had two 3-0 victories, three 4-0 wins and a 5-0 thrashing of the Air Force Academy. And let’s not forget about their defensive statistics. Out of their 10 victories this season, nine have been shutouts and there have only been four goals scored on the Anteaters.

Not to be overshadowed by the men are the Lady Anteaters who have also scored at will. The women have scored 38 goals in 16 games. They have scored three or more goals in five of their games this season. Twice this season, the women have scored six goals, the last one being three weekends ago where the Anteaters dismantled UC Davis in a 6-0 massacre.

The Ladies can also play defense. The women’s soccer team has only allowed 12 goals. Danielle de Seriere and the rest of the Lady Anteater defense have recorded eight shutouts this season.

Late game drama always spices things up. Well, men and women’s soccer have had flashes of that too. On Oct. 9, the men’s soccer team was knotted up with Cal Poly. Fans at Anteater Stadium were on the edge of their seats as junior transfer Bello Alhassan waited until the 88th minute to record his first goal of the season and break a 1-1 tie.

The Lady Anteaters love drama, as they thrive in late-game situations. The Lady Anteaters have scored five goals this season after the 85th minute that have either tied the game or put them ahead. CoCo Goodson, senior captain Tanya Taylor and Mar Rodriguez are as clutch as clutch gets.

Against Cal, Goodson found the net in the 89th minute to tie the game, and against Pacific she scored the game-winning goal in the 109th minute. Taylor netted a ball in the 85th minute against Pepperdine to earn a tie. And on Oct. 10, she delivered the pass that resulted in a game-winning goal in the 109th minute, shocking the UCSB Gauchos in double overtime. Mar Rodriguez also got in the action against Cal State Northridge, scoring her game-winning goal in the 103rd minute.

For those who say that watching soccer during the World Cup was different because one cheered for his or her home country and the players on the field are professionals, I say to you: this is YOUR school, show some school spirit. You share a campus, food courts and classrooms with these athletes. Can you say that about the players who were out on the pitch during the 2010 World Cup?

You might even become friends with a male or female soccer player and they might just say hi to you on campus. Better off yet, you might become friends with a future pro or someone who played on a national team.

But let’s be honest. If you, as an Anteater, claim to be a dedicated sports fan, there is no excuse for you not to support UCI soccer. Special things are happening at Anteater Stadium. Don’t be the one who missed out.