The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice
If+the+University+of+Utah+adds+men%E2%80%99s+soccer+to+the+mix+of+sports+on+campus%2C+fan+attendance+will+be+big.+%28Courtesy+Wikimedia+Commons%29

“If the University of Utah adds men’s soccer to the mix of sports on campus, fan attendance will be big.” (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Men’s Soccer Could be a Fan Favorite

Soccer has never been a favorite sport in North America until recent years, and now, many could argue that it has cracked the top four American sports alongside baseball, basketball and football. Also, it’s a sport that is a world favorite and it seems to be bringing on more and more fans every year in the United States.

Major League Soccer and the National Women’s Soccer League are the main professional leagues in North America for the sport of soccer. The state of Utah has Real Salt Lake (MLS)and the Utah Royals (NWSL) as part of our professional team repertoire. Real Salt Lake still owns the only professional Championship trophy to ever be brought to the state. Rio Tinto Stadium is always at full capacity and lives up to its “RIOT” nickname each game with thousands of screaming fans, pyrotechnics, songs and drum beats ringing throughout the stadium. Because of this, the sports fans in Utah have already been prepared to have a college team in Salt Lake City.

The Pac-12 is known for having great soccer teams with squads like Stanford, Cal, UCLA and USC, and the conference could only benefit more from a team in Salt Lake City. The University of Utah has a women’s soccer team that reached postseason play this year and they had a solid crowd at the new Ute Field game in and game out. Soccer would continue to increase interest in Utah sports with a men’s team taking the field and producing a women’s and a men’s competitive side against other fierce competition. 

There are only two Division I men’s soccer teams in the state of Utah with Dixie State and Utah Valley. The state of Utah also has a good history of junior college teams such as Snow College in Ephraim along with Salt Lake Community College in West Jordan and Utah State Eastern in Price. If Utah creates a men’s soccer team, they will be among the pioneers in the state. UVU has a nationally ranked soccer team every year with a packed stadium of fans from all over the state. Matching up with a good in-state team such as the Wolverines would create a fun atmosphere every year for the soccer fans in Utah. With Utah creating a men’s team, it would also provide a landing spot for junior college players that want to stay in-state and pursue their dreams of reaching the professional levels. 

Also, not only would we get recognition from in-state fans and media, but it would also bring attention from all over the world. Something that track and field, and hockey wouldn’t be able to do. Soccer is the world’s favorite sport. As universities get more exposure in tournaments and big games, fans and football clubs from all over the world take notice. Alex Morgan is a perfect example of this. Morgan played soccer at the University of California Berkeley (yay Pac-12!) during her college years before landing a spot on the United States Women’s National Team. Morgan would be seen by scouts for Olympique Lyonnais in Lyon, France and spend some time with them during the 2017 season. Brad Guzan is another example of this. Guzan played for the South Carolina Gamecocks in college before he was seen by Aston Villa in England. He would spend almost ten-years overseas playing for Aston Villa, Hull City and Middlesborough before making his way back to the States. 

If the University of Utah adds men’s soccer to the mix of sports on campus, fan attendance will be big, it will offer more opportunities for worldwide exposure and it would be a pioneer for the sport in the state. 

 

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@brayden_ramsay