Jeremiah Ingram recently joined the C-USA staff and is working in the Media/Public Relations Department. As a member of the multimedia team at the league office, he is enhancing our social media efforts, as well as contributing to the Don't Forget the Hyphen blog. Here is his first post:
by Jeremiah Ingram, C-USA
I suppose the point of most blogs is to: 1) ramble about how interesting your life is; 2) become an instant pundit; 3) journal about things you're interested in or make as many esoteric references as you can, attempting to show the world (well at least your readership) how smart you are.
The good news for you is that I don't think I'm going down any of those paths.
We're going to talk soccer; specifically C-USA men's soccer, but also a more global perspective. I was turned on to soccer during my college days. As a pretty rabid sports fan, I knew the big names, the legends and who was going to win the World Cup, but I never saw a live match until college. Once I did, I was hooked.
Ready? Here we go...
They call it "The Beautiful Game" for good reason. It's not the easiest concept for me to describe, but once you see 11 truly working as one, each player sacrificing and at the same time excelling for the team, you'll understand its beauty.
You can call it what you want: soccer, football, fútbol, futebol, calcio or podosphero (that's English (U.S.), English (England), Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Greek, respectively, if you're scoring at home) - just as long as you call on it.
Seriously, sports can tie the world together. And there is nothing else in sport that is as universal as soccer. And you can see it at a campus near you.
When was the last time you watched a match? Have you ever watched college soccer? If your answer is "No," you're missing out on an epic time.
Why should you go?
1. Really good teams. Four C-USA teams made the 48-team NCAA Tournament last year AND they all won at least one match AND had another team advance to the Elite Eight AND league teams are playing 28 matches this fall against other NCAA Tournament teams. We aren't messing around here.
2. Constant action - football players take nearly a minute between plays, have ridiculously long media timeouts and still take 20 minutes for halftime. Soccer? You get 45 minutes of constant action sandwiched around a 15-minute break. Talk about bang for your buck.
3. Nutmegs - it's what gets all the oohs and ahs of playground basketball with grass and cleats.
4. Sixteen seasons, nine different champions in C-USA. It's not just one or two schools that have good teams. They're all good.
5. Great players. This season alone four C-USA players - Arthur Ivo and Juan Castillo of SMU, UCF's Warren Creavalle and Tulsa's Justin Chavez -- are on the Hermann Trophy Watch List...there are only 42 players in the country on that list and we have a bunch. What's the Hermann Trophy? Nothing much, just the equivalent of the Heisman or Naismith. See, great players. Oh, and we have the nation's top scorer this season (McKauly Tulloch of UCF) and the two top assist men (Tyler Riggs and Charlie Pettys of Kentucky).
6. Ranked teams. Seven C-USA teams have appeared in the rankings this season. That's more than two-thirds of the league.
7. Coaching legends. How about the winningest active coach in DI men's soccer (South Carolina's Mark Berson)...and two in the top five (Bob Gray of Marshall is No. 4)? Oh, and two others in the top 45. Seven of the league coaches have more than 100 career wins.
8. No Beckham. Seriously. Unless there is a rogue jersey sighting.
9. No top 10 lists in blogs.
Seriously, though. I've seen a lot of college soccer during the past dozen years and I can say without equivocation that this year's crop of C-USA teams is very strong. Do yourself a favor and go see a match or two. You might just get hooked.
Be sure to log on to the C-USA Digital Network to catch some of the upcoming league action:
Friday, September 30
eTulsa at South Carolina................... 7:30p
Saturday, October 1
eMemphis at Marshall....................... 6:00p
e(14) UCF at (RV) SMU...................... 7:00p
Sunday, October 2
e(21) Kentucky at FIU........................ Noon
All Times Central
eConference USA match
(##) NSCAA Ranking