With a new head football coach and one of the best volleyball teams in the country, little attention from CSU has been paid to fall club sports — a stigma the men’s soccer team is working to change. Although they don’t draw the big crowds, they may be Colorado State’s best chance at a national title.
And that is exactly what the team expects to earn this season.
“We have very high expectations for the team this year,” club soccer president Drew Melin said in a press release. “We have 90 percent of the team returning this year.”
With 12 of those returners being seniors, the team will look to use their leadership and experience to top last year’s impressive record of 12-1.
But no matter how many games they win, the men’s soccer team has the national title in their sights, and if you watch them practice, you know that their aim is dead-on.
A national title could wash the foul taste away from the team’s final game of last season, a quarterfinal loss to Weber State in the National Title Tournament.
The game came down to the final shot of a shoot-out, an outcome the team is determined not to repeat.
“We’ve been training really hard,” said outside midfielder Torre Saterstrom. “We play a really controlled passing game, where a lot of other teams play a lot more direct into the goal.”
Another rationale for this team’s success is work ethic. They have three official practices a week but find themselves at the intramural fields practicing almost daily.
“We’re out here all the time playing, doing something to benefit ourselves, fitness-wise or soccer-wise,” said first-year A-team player and inside midfielder Jake Mann.
The team was looking forward to their hard work and determination paying off last Sunday as they prepared for their first game against the University of Denver.
However, the team was forced to only scrimmage the B-squad, as their opponents failed to make it to the game.
The reason? “They’re scared,” the team said in a collective voice.
While that may or may not be the reason for the forfeit, the atmosphere of the team certainly bleeds confidence. The men’s soccer team is hard- working, but is also diverse.
The team is proud to have three international players, each from different countries, all united by the passion of one sport.
“It brings a whole new dynamic to the team, that I think we benefit from a lot,” Sterstrom said.
Having players from three different countries — Peru, Saudi Arabia and Qatar — brings a unique soccer perspective, as each player brings his own experiences and skills to the game.
“It’s been a really good experience,” Saterstrom said. “We talk to them about how things are where they’re from . it’s really interesting.”
The team will try to continue their winning ways this weekend as they head to San Diego for a tournament, where they’ll take on three formidable opponents in two days. They play the University of Arizona on Friday and the University of Southern California Saturday.
They’ll then have a tough match against last year’s champion, the University of California Santa Barbara.
“We are committed to winning a national championship this year, but we just need more support if we are going to go all the way,” Melin said.
Ram fans will have that opportunity as they take on rivals University of Wyoming in a night game on Oct. 3 at the CSU intramural fields.
Club sports beat writer Keith Robertson can be reached at email@example.com.