There is a line in a baseball classic that says, “If you build it, they will come.” Our women’s soccer team is hosting the first round of the NCAA tournament on campus for the first time since 2000. During the season, this team has accomplished so many things that should not go unnoticed.
They’re making the NCAA tournament for the third-straight year, which is the first time in school history that this has been done. They have registered 14 wins to tie the school record. They placed second in the Pac 12, the highest finish in school history. In the last-few weeks, this team has won five-straight matches. During that time, they snapped Stanford’s 42-match unbeaten streak on the road.
I know some of you might know some of these things, but I am guessing most don’t. Coaching in this league for the last 10 years, I can assure you those accomplishments are not easy to achieve. It has taken blood, sweat and tears along the way.
How do I know this? Because I have seen it, during the summer when most students are home or on vacation, our fall sports are hear busting their butts for opportunities like this.
Soccer, along with volleyball and football, spent countless hours in the weight room, in the classroom, and on the fields of play. Even though volleyball and football aren’t where our soccer team is, they will be very, very soon. But, as of this week our soccer team is there and I sure hope we can do all we can to make Pullman a place that Illinois never wants to come back to again.
As a coach in this conference, at this University and in this town, I want you all to know that you have the ability to make more of a difference at our games than anybody else’s fans in the country. When we recruit and sell this University, you all are a big part of what we are selling. We talk about our fans as an extension of our team. I have coached many games at Bailey-Brayton Field where you, the fans, have made the difference between a win and a loss. Teams in the BCS don’t want to come to Pullman and won’t come to Pullman unless they are mandated by their leagues or by another factor. The factor in the case this Saturday is our women’s soccer team. Their play made the NCAA honor them by selecting them as a host for this year’s NCAA tournament
So, remember this. No great program was ever built with wins first and fan support second. Whether it’s College GameDay and the Cougar flag, a Go Cougs in an airport somewhere in the country, Cougar blood runs deep and Cougar loyalty even deeper. So now, can we all pack the stands together, wave the flag, and show our Cougar pride? You bet we can.
Like I said in the beginning, “If you build it, they will come.” Well, Cougar soccer has built it, and now it’s time we all come and support this team.
-The opinions expressed in this guest commentary are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of Student Publications.