College Spring ‘Season’ Underway
If you blink, you might just miss the college soccer season going on right now, if in fact season is even the right word for it.
Since college sports are an either/or arrangement – either you play in the fall, winter or spring – college soccer contests its regular season from August to December but holds a spring season that falls somewhere between the start of the MLS regular season and the beginning of the Professional Development League, where many of the college game’s standouts compete through the warmer weather months.
The season is short, as in 4-7 games short and the games are more or less friendlies with other schools, professional teams and at times even international teams. Reigning D-1 champions Indiana University have an annual meeting with Mexico’s U20 team, for example, and Drexel University’s team hosted USL PRO side Harrisburg City Islanders (using all trialists) a couple weeks ago.
The only reason I knew about Drexel’s meeting with City Islanders a couple weeks ago – my frozen toes probably wish I hadn’t found out about it – was through an email from the Harrisburg club. As far as the athletic department’s website (proudly displaying Jeff Parke’s photo) was concerned, the game never happened. This isn’t uncommon.
If you look at the websites of many of the country’s top programs, you’ll be lucky if you find even a schedule of the games much less details of where and when you can watch the games. This is unfortunate because, exhibition/friendly or not, there are some fun match-ups involving future stars of MLS, national team and international teams that don’t occur at all in the regular season.
Like Indiana University facing the U-20 Mexican National Team, fresh off its CONCACAF crown, on Sunday, April 28. Or the recent battle between North Carolina and the NASL Carolina Railhawks (they drew 1-1) and the Sunday morning game the University of Maryland had with DC United on March 10 (couldn’t find a score anywhere on this one) to name a few.
Some other interesting spring match-ups include:
- A rematch of the 2011 College Cup final, UNC vs Charlotte on April 13th in Greensboro
- Akron, led by first-year head coach Jared Embick, travels to College Park to take on Maryland on April 27th
- The Terrapins also hosted USL PRO squads Richmond Kickers yesterday and will host Harrisburg on April 5th.
- Creighton travels to Denver to play new Mexico on April 27
- University of Louisville travels to St. Louis to take on the Billikens on April 7th
Those of us who dream big when it comes to college soccer have visions of the spring season one day being expanded to create an Apertura and Clausura type arrangement for the college game, but when we wake up reality suggests that’s as likely to happen as college football moving its regular season to the spring. For now and into the foreseeable future this informal, under the radar, dare I even say underground season, will just have to suffice until we can begin the official countdown to the College Cup (at PPL Park this year!) in August.