If you’re a football fan, this is your time of year. Well the college football season gets underway this weekend and the NFL isn’t far behind, but honestly I’m not talking about American gridiron football, but rather what we call soccer. No, I’m not a soccer snob and don’t usually call the game futbol, but much of the world does.
I did, however, attend five soccer matches over four days last week. I handle the public address announcing duties for ORU men’s and women’s soccer, and both teams had two home games last week, plus I covered the Tulsa Roughnecks game this past Saturday. So, I suppose, I see more than my share of soccer.
For international soccer fans, the Summer Olympic Games in Rio just ended with hotly contested men’s and women’s tournaments. The Premier League has begun its season, and Major League Soccer is still in force. Plus, the Tulsa Roughnecks FC have several games left on their USL schedule.
But locally, the beginning of the fall semester marks the start of college and youth league soccer.
In the Olympics, the women’s gold medal was won by Germany defeating Sweden 2-1. Although the home team, Brazil, was led by Marta, one of the best female players of all time, her team was beaten by Canada in the bronze medal game, 2-1.
The men’s tournament was just as exciting, as the host team, Brazil, played in the gold medal game against Germany, and at the end of regulation time, the match was tied 1-1. Neither team scored in the extra time, so they went to a penalty kick shootout in which Brazil came away victorious. Two teams that weren’t considered powerhouses coming into the tournament played for the bronze medal, and Nigeria beat Honduras, 3-2.
Oral Roberts University’s mens’ and womens’ teams began their season last weekend with home victories. The ORU men beat USAO, 2-0, in an exhibition game on Thursday night and then defeated Drury University on Sunday evening, 2-1.
The ORU women opened their regular season on Friday night with a 3-0 shutout win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and then on Sunday afternoon the women dropped a close 1-0 match to North Texas.
The University of Tulsa women’s soccer team opened the season last weekend playing in the Sooner Classic at the OU Soccer Complex in Norman. The TU women played to a 1-1 draw with Louisiana State, in their first match on Friday, and then lost to 24th-ranked South Carolina, 4-1, on Sunday.
The TU men opened their season at home with a pair of exhibition games. On Friday, Tulsa and Oklahoma Wesleyan battled to a 0-0 tie, and did not play any overtime. The Golden Hurricane then hosted Central Arkansas on Saturday night, with TU winning the match 3-2.
Tulsa Roughnecks FC hosted Rio Grande Valley on Thursday, and the home team got crushed 5-0.
The Roughnecks played at home again on Saturday night, losing to Oklahoma City Energy FC, 2-0. OKC got on the scoreboard first in the seventh minute as Timo Pitter struck a rocket into the net from 28 yards out.
In the second half, Energy FC made it a 2-0 game when Pitter passed the ball in the air to Danni Konig who touched it off his head just inside the near post, from five yards out. The Roughnecks’ record dropped to 5-16-3 on the season, while OKC improved to 9-3-10. Tulsa has two remaining home matches at ONEOK Field; Sept. 21 vs. Swope Park Rangers, and Sept. 24 vs. Sacramento Republic FC. Game times are 7:30 p.m.
With the thousands of families involved in youth soccer all over the area, they would be wise to take their youngsters out to one of the college matches from time to time, and even catch a few Roughnecks games each season.
Watching a sport that you love being played at a higher level, helps build greater interest in young athletes that will hopefully carry them for many years to come. Who knows, maybe some of the youth players out there this weekend at the soccer fields around the area, will one day play for Olympic gold?