By David Pavlak
On any given weekend morning it wasn’t uncommon to hear the television playing in my house at 8 a.m.
However, it wasn’t my parents though who would be up beginning their days; it was my younger brother, lying on the couch, watching the early English Premier League game. A devout fan of Manchester United, he would wake up at ungodly hours to watch his team compete, but his true allegiance lies with the U.S. Women’s National Team. Any activities going on that day would screetch to a halt if his favorite teams were playing.
As you can imagine during this summer’s Olympics, the women’s tournament was a staple on the television in my house. The way he would scream out in joy as the ball would find the back of the net in favor of the United States showed his passion for the team and the sport as a whole.
On the opposite side of things, you did not want to be in the room if the U.S. began to lose. No matter what is going on, one thing is clear: my brother loves soccer. But so does the rest of the world.
Soccer, or football as it is called in most other countries, is the most popular game in the world according to most.popular.net. Soccer hasn’t caught on in America like in other countries, but it is expanding every season. Soccer has the ability to pick up a lot of bandwagon fans as well. We all have a handful of these people in our own lives — the ones who pick the best team and say they support them simply because everyone else does. The sad part is that they couldn’t tell you a thing about the team or the people on it. It was amazing to see how many soccer fans came out of the woodwork during the Olympics to support the U.S. team, but where have they gone since?
If there truly are fans of soccer in and around Rider, they are missing a lot of great soccer action happening in their own backyard.
The Broncs’ women’s soccer team currently has a 5-1-1 record and opened their season with a 4-0 record — the best start in the program’s history. They will look to add to this record when they travel to Delaware to take on Delaware State tonight.
Freshman Tara Ballay, junior Jody Sokol and seniors Kaitlin Wylie and Claire Thompson are all tied with two goals a piece, while senior standout Abi Cottam has spent most of her time feeding her teammates the ball. Cottam had an incredible season last year, ranking nationally in six categories: sixth in points per game with 2.17, eighth in assists per game with 0.61, 14th in goals per game with 0.778, 17th in total assists with 11, 19th in total points with 39 and 28th in total goals with 14.
Senior Jenn Nichols has started all seven games for the Broncs and earned four shutouts along the way. She has only conceded five goals.
The Broncs are just about to begin their conference play, which will tell a lot about the strength of this women’s team. Marist is the defending champion and will sit at the top of the pedestal until someone knocks them off, even though it has a 5-4 out-of-conference record.
If there are as many soccer fans all the social media platforms suggest, everyone should make their way to Ben Cohen Field more often to catch a Rider women’s soccer match. I know my brother would.
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