Reinventing Pitt soccer is ready for the spotlight



Thomas Yang | Senior Employees Photographer

Sophomore ahead Amanda West (9) celebrates together with her teammates after scoring a objective on Syracuse throughout Pitt’s 2-Zero victory over the Orange on Sept. 17.

Soccer will not be considered one of America’s extra fashionable sports activities. Even with the rise of establishments like Main League Soccer and the USL Championship, it’s unlikely to surpass American soccer and basketball in followers.

However that doesn’t imply you shouldn’t take note of it. Actually, there’s high-level soccer being performed proper in Oakland.

Pitt girls’s soccer is on an absolute tear proper now. The Panthers have received six of their first eight video games, have received no less than their first 4 video games for the primary time since 2009 and are at the moment ranked No. 14 within the nation by the United Soccer Coaches Ballot.

The ladies’s crew is coming off a reasonably abysmal 2019 season, the place the Panthers received solely 5 of 18 video games. They’ve already surpassed the 2019 crew’s win whole this 12 months, whereas holding their opponents to simply six objectives in these first eight video games. However an excellent protection is simply a part of the image.

Pitt may counter on the offensive finish. The Panthers have scored 18 objectives on 58 photographs and have 121 whole photographs, which suggests they’re pressuring opposing defenses and retaining the ball within the attacking half. For reference, that’s about the identical fee of photographs — roughly 15 photographs per sport — as the highest college within the nation, the College of North Carolina.

Not solely that, however a lot of Pitt’s prime performers are nonetheless underclassmen, that means this string of success can carry over for the subsequent couple of seasons, in the event that they’re fortunate.

Whereas the ladies’s crew is already deep in its season, Pitt males’s soccer is simply getting underway. Even after enjoying solely two scrimmages, the primary United Soccer Coaches Ballot had ranked the Panthers second within the nation, behind solely Wake Forest, Clemson and Virginia.

Their Sept. 19 scrimmage towards Louisville, whereas not counting towards the season, was Pitt’s greatest efficiency to this point this 12 months — a 5-Zero shoutout.

The lads’s crew has already proven it could swing with the perfect of them, defeating then No. 5 Notre Dame 3-1 in its first regular-season matchup on Sept. 26. Apparently that was sufficient to spice up Pitt’s rankings within the second USC ballot to No. 2 within the nation, behind solely Wake Forest.

The Panthers play Syracuse on Tuesday, which is the second of solely seven scheduled video games.

The lads’s crew roster consists of a wholesome mixture of underclassmen and upperclassmen, though it’s a bit early to evaluate their potential success in the meanwhile. If something, the Panthers need to enhance upon their earlier season, the place they reached the semifinals of the ACC males’s soccer event and the second spherical of the NCAA event.

However why would one need to keep watch over them, after we can’t even go to the video games?

Whether or not it’s soccer, basketball, baseball or every other sport, these athletes are your fellow college students, and you need to really feel such as you’re part of the crew as properly. If the everyday pull of college satisfaction isn’t sufficient, you additionally need to help a crew when it’s successful, and each Pitt soccer groups are successful. These are potential convention championship contenders, and their success might be sustained properly into the long run.

From an athletic perspective, soccer is among the fastest-growing sports activities within the nation at present. This progress is how Main League Soccer went from 20 groups to just about 30 groups in about six years.

In addition to rising recognition, soccer has additionally turn out to be extra prevalent at pre-professional ranges. A number of schools and professional groups have their very own soccer-specific amenities, and most schools truly assist you to attend video games without spending a dime (no less than when there isn’t an ongoing pandemic).

Clearly, it’s unattainable to attend video games dwell due to the pandemic, however that shouldn’t drive you away from displaying help. Each groups are energetic on social media, and the Pitt Athletics web site has scores and stats from earlier video games.

Each Pitt soccer groups are off to scorching begins and have probabilities to go deep into this 12 months’s tournaments, and it’s value giving them your consideration.

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